Today is Maundy Thursday. Most scholars believe that the word, “maundy,” comes from the Latin word “mandatum,” which means, “command.” It was on the Thursday of Christ’s final week before His crucifixion on, what we call, “Good Friday,” that He gave this command to His disciples while they were sharing the Passover meal: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34).
It was also on Maundy Thursday that Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane so fervently that his sweat became “like great drops of blood falling to the ground” (Luke 22:44). He prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me—nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). Jesus’ prayer reveals His complete dependence on the Father’s will. Jesus asked for a removal of the cup, the symbol of His sufferings because of God’s judgment on sin, but was willing to be obedient in love – even to the point of death.
In fact, Jesus repeated His command, “Love one another as I have loved you,” and added, “No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). It’s one thing to sacrifice everything for friends, the people you like and naturally love – it’s quite another to love someone who has rejected, betrayed, denied, and sinned against you. Yet, that’s exactly what Jesus did.
Rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. How much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by his blood, will we be saved through him from wrath. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation (Romans 5:7-11).
The only way we can live out Christ’s command to love others is by accepting His gift of love by faith and loving others by the power of His Spirit within us because we are so completely loved by Him.
Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another (1 John 4:7-11)
It’s Maundy Thursday that prepares our hearts for Good Friday. And Sunday’s comin’…
Follow me… as I follow Jesus Christ.