Maundy Thursday – 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, John 13:1-17, 34
In the night in which [Jesus] was betrayed… Do this in remembrance of me! (1 Corinthians 11:23b, 24d; NRSV)
This night ends the Journey that is Lent, and begins the path through the Great Three Days focused on Christ’s Betrayal, Passion, Death and Resurrection. This is the first of those three days, Maundy Thursday.
Sometimes I find it fun to put myself into a character’s shoes. Whether I am reading a fantastic story about Hobbits and Rings, or Wizards and A fight between Love and Power, or Lions and Wardrobes, I love immersing myself in the story and putting myself in the shoes of a Character in that story. Could I be as brave as Samwise Gamgee? Could I be as wise as Dumbledore? Could I be as foolish as Edward? I can only let my imagination go.
Try putting yourself in the shoes of Christ. How would you react? If you knew, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that you were going to be betrayed and handed over to torture and death what would you do? If you knew that the one was to betray you was sitting right next to you, eating with you, what would you do?
Jesus… well, Jesus did what Jesus always does (and what he calls us to do as well). He served his Disciples. He loved his disciples (John 13). He prayed for his disciples. He fed his disciples.
While our versions of Hollywood Jesus show Judas fleeing before the meal, no real mention is made of when he left. Imagine yourself in Jesus’ shoes. Judas has just sat in front of you and you are washing his feet. Judas is sitting next to you and you are breaking the loaf.
Jesus taught us, “Do this in remembrance of me”. As he taught us this, he was sitting with those who would betray him, those who would deny him, those who would hide from him.
So, let’s “Do this.” Let’s wash the feet of all, our enemies included. Let’s feed all, enemies included. Let’s really follow Jesus.
Holy God, source of all love, on the night of his betrayal, Jesus gave us a new commandment, to love one another as he loves us. Write this commandment in our hearts, and give us the will to serve others as he was the servant of all, your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen!
~ Pastor John Sipf, St. Peter’s Ev. Lutheran Church and St. Mark’s Ev. Lutheran Church (Verdon)