Today's Reading: St. John 13:1-15 (34-35)
“A new command I give to you, that you love one another, just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (St. John 13:35)
Happy “Mandate” Thursday! In the name of Jesus. Amen. “Maundy” is “mandate” from the Latin (mandatum sum), “A new mandate I give to you.” He bids us to love one another as He has loved us.
He wrapped a towel around His waist, got on His knees and washed feet. Icky, stinky, dirty, calloused feet. You know, “take off your shoes and don’t track that inside” feet.
Peter forbid Him. The Lord God doesn’t wash my feet. We should be washing God’s feet—not the other way around.
“If I don’t wash you, Peter, you have no part of Me.” Jesus didn’t come to have His feet washed. He came to wash sinners, to cleanse them from their sins by His holy life and innocent suffering and death.
He has washed you and marked you as holy with the waters of Holy Baptism. He has cleansed every spot, stain, sin, and bit of guilt from you. You are holy as He is holy. You are righteous, as He is righteous. You are the Father’s beloved son, just as He is the Father’s beloved Son.
Don’t look at yourself now. You aren’t the reason you are a child of God. Eyes on Jesus, towel around His waist, washing His disciples’ nasty feet just hours before soldiers will take Him away to die.
This is love: not that you love God, but that He loves you. God doesn’t need your loving Him. He’s going to be just fine whether you love Him or not. No, true love is that God loves usand gave up His Son as a sacrifice for us.
Love your neighbor in the-Father-gave-up-His-Son way. Love them as Jesus loves you, ready to wash feet if that’s what your neighbor needs. Love them, put them first, be ready to die for them.
And when you fail, when you don’t love others like Jesus loves you, when you don’t fulfill His mandate, have your feet washed again by Jesus. A clean person doesn’t need a whole bath, they just need to have what they stepped in scrubbed away.
Run back to Holy Baptism, to Holy Absolution, to the Lord’s Supper. Flee to where Jesus is washing you and be cleansed again. Then, it’s back to Maundy Thursday-ing and loving one another as He has loved you. You are clean—every last bit of you. Happy “Mandate” Thursday! In the name of Jesus. Amen.
“O Lord, in this wondrous Sacrament You have left us a remembrance of Your passion. Grant that we may so receive the sacred mystery of Your body and blood that the fruits of Your redemption may continually be manifest in us; for You who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.” (Collect for Maundy Thursday)
Reflections for the Epiphany and Pre-Lent Seasons are written by the Rev. George Borghardt, pastor of St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Conroe, TX and the Higher Things Conferences Executive. Comments may be sent to the author at the following address: email@example.com
Questions or comments regarding the Reflections may be sent to the Rev. Mark Buetow, Reflections Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org.