Growing up in the Baptist church that I did, I never heard about Maundy Thursday. Not until I was in college did I become aware that Christians all over the world commemorate the last meal Jesus had with His disciples. Maundy is from the Latin word for mandate or commandment. It is a reference to what Jesus said to His disciples during the meal - "But I am giving you a new command. You must love each other, just as I have loved you. " (John 13:34)
Jesus, the master teacher that He was, gave an old commandment new life. In the OT book of Leviticus the Lord said, "Forget about the wrong things people do to you, and do not try to get even. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. I am the Lord." (19:18, NCV) Though this was part of the law code of the Jewish people, love is a hard thing to legislate. What it became in practice was "Love those neighbors who are like yourself." In other words, love those who are like you, who see things like you do, who you can love as much as you love yourself. It was not what God intended.
Jesus updates the commandment to "You must love each other as I have loved you." How did Jesus love? By giving Himself for those who didn't love Him; by laying down life for sinners, so that they could become saints. Real love always seeks to lift up the object of its affection. Jesus gives further instruction by saying, "If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples." (John 13:35, NLT) As we love others like Jesus loved us, others know we belong to Him. Do you think that pleases Jesus? I think so too.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
The Bible says, "do not despise the day of small things." Most days are filled with "small things;" nothing spectacular, just little blessings along the way. But if we pay attention to the little blessings along the way, we see that they add up to a full day of good things. Today was one of those days. This morning was a good time of worship for me. Nothing spectacular happened, but I sensed the presence of the Lord. We spent the afternoon together as a family and I was blessed to spend some time with Cecelia and the girls. We've been so busy with church and school that we have rarely all been together the last few weeks. And tonight I got to set back and worship the Lord while the choir did "Written in Red." What a powerful musical, and they nailed it. The song, "Who Will Call Him King of Kings" gave me the "Holy Spirit goosebumps." He is my King and I could just bask in His love tonight. A day of small things, but what a wonderful day. Thank you Lord!