John 13:1-17, 31b-35 NIV
13 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. 31 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him,a] God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once. 33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Today, we celebrate Maundy or the Mandate Thursday. It is a day of Holy Week and a moment in the history of redemption filled with the love that Jesus has for us, and the Mandate to show one another his love through two significant moments or signs; the foot washing and the institution of the Holy Communion. In both symbols, God shows us His love, grace and glory.
Jesus’ Mandate happened during the celebrations of the Passover feast.
That celebration refers to the promises of the Old Covenant fulfilled by the flawless lamb’s blood that marked and saved the lives of the first-born Hebrews.
After that remarkable night, Jesus promised us salvation to the people of the New Covenant— by His sacrificial love on the cross. The Mandate Jesus gave us, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34), must be demonstrated by serving one another and keeping our koinonia or relationship when we are dining together. That’s the reason Jesus washed his disciples’ feet as a sign of humble service. Our teacher gave us an example of how we must serve one another.
And the other signs He left us is the celebration of the Holy Communion, as the sign of reconciliation and the importance to keep strong our Christian relationship with one another.
This is an exceptional year because of the social distancing we are experiencing. Still, if you think about it, celebrating Maundy Thursday with family, as we are doing it, we are experiencing another perspective.
It’s also making us look at our family, as our first neighbors we must need to show God’s love by serving them.
I invited you to be very creative, and imagined you were doing a spiritual act of love. Instead of the foot-washing, wash your own hands, believing that is Jesus washing your feet. And then listen to the words that I am about to read to you. And later on, bring bread and juice, and put them on a table in front of you, and spiritually, join me to celebrate together Holy Communion. These two are signs of God’s unconditional love we must keep doing for one another.