Going Deeper 03.31.2021

Maundy Thursday... John 13:1-17, 31b-35

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.” After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.  ...  When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

There are two words which I consider to be exceedingly important in this text, and these words are profoundly linked: "example" and "love."

In a broad sense, Jesus' whole life and mission are to serve as an example for His followers.  As He stated previously, Jesus had "come not to be served, but to serve and to give His life..."  This can be understood as are own "mission statement": we are here to serve, not to be served.  While this certainly conflicts with sinful human nature, it is in truth a return to our created nature.  This is how God's children live... as we see so clearly in the example of Jesus, the Son of God.

There is only one way for us to experience the ongoing transformation from our sinful nature back to our created nature, and that is through encountering the profound love of God, a love seen most clearly in the mission of Jesus.  "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another."  The word "Maundy" comes from the Latin maundatam, which is translated into English as "mandate."  This is the "new commandment" followers of Jesus live by: the law of love.  And we are both inspired and empowered to love by the unconditional, steadfast, infinite love of God.

Jesus is about to demonstrate this profound love by laying down His life.  As we follow Jesus to the cross, we will see the greatest example of love in history.  May the Holy Spirit of God lead us not only witness, but more importantly to experience the love of God in a very real and personal way, and may that profound love profoundly heal and change us.  We are now children of God!

With You in His Love,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington

"Gratefully Growing Servants"