Thursday, April 13, 2017

Making America Good Again: Maundy Thursday?

What is this funny word, "Maundy"?  My iPad keeps wanting to change it to "Mandy."  Perhaps we should just call it Holy Thursday. The big story is tomorrow anyway.  But let's not rush ahead.

When Jesus and his disciples gathered for the Passover meal, Jesus gave them a new commandment:  

"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.”  (John 13:34-35)

This is where we get the name, "Maundy". It comes from the Latin word, mandatum which means "commandment."

We hear Christians and non-Christians alike say the most important teaching of Jesus is  "Love one another,"  as if it was the only thing Jesus ever said or did.  To be sure, the world could use a lot more love, but there is more to it than that.  Jesus wasn't telling us to love others however we want, Jesus' commandment is that we love each other AS JESUS DID.

How does Jesus love?  While there is more, look at what he did just on this Maundy Thursday.

**** Jesus served his disciples like a humble slave.

Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. This type of service requires us to put others before ourselves.  Imagine a marriage where each partner seeks to anticipate and meet the needs of their spouse.  Imagine a family where parents are honored and children cherished.  Imagine a workplace where employers and employees followed this pattern of servant leadership.  Imagine a Congress filled with men and women intent on showing humility and mutual respect.
Imagine how different the world would be if we didn't just serve each other  - but we served each other like Jesus.

****Jesus established a new covenant of forgiveness.

"While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."   (Matthew 26:26-28)

Think about how wonderful it feels when someone tells you they forgive you.  We all like being forgiven, but we are not quite so quick to forgive others. Unfortunately, when we withhold forgiveness it eats away at our souls.

Imagine how different the world would be if we didn't pick and choose when to forgive - but we forgave like Jesus.

****Jesus prayed.

After dinner, Jesus went off by Himself prayed for the Father to fill his disciples with joy, to protect them from evil, and to teach them the truth of God's Word.  He prayed for all of us who would come to know Jesus through them. (See John 17 for the whole prayer.). Jesus also prayed for Himself:

 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:41)

Imagine how different the world would be if didn't just pray when there was a problem - but we prayed, earnestly, like Jesus:  for others, for ourselves, and most of all for God's will to be done.

**** Jesus laid down his life.  

Jesus was arrested and taken in chains to the high priest and his council. When questioned, Jesus did not deny that he was the Messiah and the Son of God.  They accused him of blasphemy and held him until Friday morning so they could ask the Roman governor, Pilate, to sentence Jesus to death.

Earlier that very night, Jesus repeated his new commandment and added this:  “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friend." (John 15:13)

And now, he has done just that.

Imagine how different the world would be if we showed our love for each other through sacrifice, prayer, forgiveness and service - like Jesus did.

To Make America - and the whole world - Good Again, let's not just love each other - let's love each other like Jesus.

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