love looks like a humble servant: thoughts on maundy thursday
He knew the time had come. He knew this was the end of His days in human flesh on this earth. The hours were now numbered. What would He do with this last evening?... Heal a multitude of people? Preach a moving sermon to thousands? Make one last public appearance to perhaps show them who He is? Put on display His great might and power? No, instead He meets for dinner in a private room with his twelve disciples. His purpose was love. "He loved them to the end." (john 13:1)
I am not sure why it still surprises me when God moves in a way so upside down from what we would expect. The beauty of the scene that night leaves me in awe.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
The One who is spoken of in this first chapter of John demonstrated the discipline of service. Elohim who created our earth and all that it is in it, the One who came to Abraham to tell Him he would have a son, the One who walked with those in the fire furnace, the One who shut the lion's mouth so that Daniel would not be eaten, the One who will one day come back as a might warrior and King...the Light of the World had come to earth and no one recognized it because He came to show us what love truly looks like.
he laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. (john 13:4-5)
Jesus washed his disciples feet. In college, I spent a summer in Togo, W.Africa. Spending the day walking in that red dirt with only flip flops left my feet extremely dirty at the end of that day. I think about how dirty my feet were. How even I barely wanted to touch my own feet. Now think about the condition of the feet of those disciples who had spent a lifetime walking. And the heat of the long day they had just gone through. It was not a glamorous thing to wash their feet. Foot washing was the job of the servant of the house. But here, in this moment, He wanted to show them what love looked like. He did this for all twelve of the disciples. Even Judas. Even the one who Jesus knew would betray Him... even him. It is hard for my mind to even wrap itself around that scene.
I am thankful for this day each year, when we pause to consider and remember. It has become one of my favorite days and our family looks foward to it with great expectation. This evening we will take turns washing one another's feet. As we wash we anoint that person with oil and pray over them. It is not prearranged but God always shows me in the moment who should be paired together. It is beautiful to hear your children pray over their siblings. Something happens as we walk through this together and we have seen healing in relationships come. We will also read the Scriptures and watch them acted out through the movie The gospel of John. We will share in communion together and a meal. Nothing glamorous. Just our little team huddled together celebrating Jesus in our home. But there really is something so powerful about this remembrance and a perfect way to focus our hearts on Jesus sacrifice and resurrection.
Love is not a what, it is a who. Jesus IS love. We are called to absorb Jesus like a sponge and squeeze him back out. Love is not a feeling, it is a commandment. Today helps us to remember these Truths.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (john 13:34-35)