Thursday, April 9, 2020

A new mandate...

The Teacher had a special group of students, men whom he had poured three years of his life into as they had lived life together. There was nothing about those students he did not know, their strengths as well as their weaknesses, and how they would react under pressure. Yet he loved them and always would.

Time was short. Not much longer would he be able to impart to them what he wanted them to know. Home was calling him back.

So, they had one last supper together. The Teacher knew that one had already decided to betray him, yet he treated him the same as all the rest. It was meant to be.

After supper, the Teacher stood up and got a towel, basin and pitcher. He wrapped the towel around his waist and then knelt down, and one by one, he placed each student's feet in the basin, scrubbed the foot and then, much like a mother would do, propped the foot on his knee,drying it with the towel that was still wrapped around his waist. What an intimate humbling act for a teacher to do!

That rascally student, Peter, who was always quick with a retort, spoke in wonder, "Do YOU wash my feet?

The Teacher smiled and said, "I know you don't understand now, but one day you will."

Peter insisted, "Teacher, you will never wash MY feet."

The Teacher replied that if he couldn't wash Peter's feet, then Peter could have no part in the Teacher's ministry.

Always one to go "whole hog", Peter did an about-face and wanted the Teacher to wash his head and hands. The Teacher said there was no need for that. They were all clean and only needed their feet washed - well, except for one ...

When all twelve students' feet were washed, the Teacher put away the towel, basin and pitcher and putting back on his robe, he sat down again in his place.

All their eyes looked at him expectantly. "Do you understand what I did?" he asked them.

"You all look to me as your Teacher, as well you should. What I just did is an example for you. You should wash each other's feet, just like I did yours. A student is not greater than his Teacher. You should always do like you've seen me do."


The greatest Teacher who ever lived, and will live forever, is Jesus. He came and did life with us for 33 years. While He was here, He taught us about what is important, and what's not. 

He taught with words, lecturing in places like synagogues, boat decks and mountaintops. He also taught by example, always willing to bless and to heal, letting the crowds come to Him with their overwhelming needs, always putting others first and somehow finding time to spend alone with His Father.

On that fateful foot-washing night long ago, the Teacher gave a new commandment to apply to the life of anyone who calls themselves one of His students:

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. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

Students, let's follow His example.


Today is Maundy Thursday, the day we celebrate Jesus and His disciples having a Last Supper sharing bread and wine for the final time this side of heaven.

What does Maundy mean? Having come from a discipline that celebrates Easter, but not Holy Week so much, I did not know the definition of Maundy. It turns out Maundy means "commandment" or "mandate" in the original language.

The mandate for the believer is clear: love one another.

I have to believe in the midst of our busy, every-day lives He has called us to live out loving each other.

Perhaps, some of us are finding a new normal. Despite uncertainties and disappointments, our calendars are turned upside down. Maybe we are a little bummed about the changes. Maybe we are grieving our old way of life, because really, who among us likes change?

Or maybe you are the person deemed "essential," and while everyone else is lamenting being stuck at home, you're just wishing you had the freedom to chill with your homies, but instead you're working even more hours than before.

In this day of COVID-19 and sheltering-in-place, how can YOU love one another? I'd love for you to share in the comments any ideas you may have regarding showing love to your people.

Maybe, the best place to start is to extend them grace.


Linking this post up with the communities at #TuneInThursday 
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Susan said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE. He is risen.

ellen b. said...

May we all keep learning from the Master. Wonderful post for Maundy Thursday. One thing I've been doing is sending via snail mail cards and notes. I figure what I'm saving in gas money I can invest in stamps!

betty said...

I read this scripture today from John 13:34-35. Two of my favorites. So simple to love . To live it is harder to do. I'm practicing random acts of kindness as I'm out and about (social distancing of course). Praying God's love will make a difference in how I can help others.

I did not know what Maundy meant either. I like its definition. We plan to participate in a Maundy Thursday online streaming service this afternoon.

Happy Easter!

He is risen!!!!!!!!!!


Lois Flowers said...

"Extending grace" ... sometimes so hard to do, and yet what a blessing to be the recipient! Thank you for this thoughtful reminder of Jesus' new mandate, Jerralea. And Happy Easter to you as well!

Susanne said...

This was a beautiful post, Jerralea. I have struggled a bit with how to reach out and show love at this time without it contradicting the whole reason I had to shut my dayhome. But I have found that if I ask the Lord to open my eyes each day to the small things God brings about in that day there is plenty of opportunity. I just have to tune into His quiet voice.