Our guest blogger today is Mary Ann Springer Moore. Mary Ann is a Christian speaker in the Northern California area. She often shares her teaching gifts at women’s retreats and with youth events. Mary Ann is married to Tim and has two grown daughters.
When life is out of control, and things are not going as you thought, structure and organization are what keep things calm and give you the ability to focus on the next thing to do. The last few days of Jesus life were planned, and prepared in advance, because Jesus knew His time was near.
Organization and structure are my weakest areas, so when I look at Jesus’s last week, I’m amazed at the plan. It’s intriguing to me, a very sanguine girl, as I study this particular day and see the sovereignty of God in every detail. Jesus knew the reason He came to Earth was to take our place before God in judgement so we could take Jesus’s place before God in redemption. So Maundy Thursday was the day everything moved into action.
“Mandatum” is the Latin word for “Maundy” and means “commandment.” So, you could say this is “new commandment Thursday.” And it was Passover, a very important observance in the life of a Jew, like Jesus. So it was Jesus’s last night with His disciples, and He already had the upper room ready for this special evening. John 13:3-5 says, “Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.” Jesus removed His king’s robe and came to earth as a man, so this symbolized his stepping into a servant’s role. He washed the disciple’s feet, saying his last words to each of them. I wonder what words of wisdom he gave them knowing what they were going to face in the next twenty-four hours? John 13:34-35 gives us a clue. It says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
So why is this a new commandment? The way Jesus loves is to humble himself to be a servant and then to die for us. As the mother of grown children, I feel like my surrender and servanthood is over. It’s time for me to do my next thing. No, not yet. That is my selfish thinking, not kingdom thinking. To be a servant is the greatest privilege in the world, but the hardest thing to do. To put others first, all the time, rather than myself.
Why is this so hard? Help? So I turned to the book of John to look at Maundy Thursday and asked what does this mean for me—for Christianity? I see three things:
1) God is sovereign in every detail of life. So when life turns upside down, God is working His sovereignty in our lives so we can trust Him.
2) God humbled himself to serve others for a bigger purpose, our salvation. How do we need to humble ourselves and help others in the way they need to be helped?
3) God loved his disciples and prepared them the best way he could, by example. How can we die to ourselves, and serve those who are hurting, hopeless or harassing us? God sees them all, yet in love, died, so that we may have life.
There are many lessons to be found on the eve of Jesus’s sacrifice—for us. Grateful for Maundy Thursday!