Here’s the scene. Jesus and His disciples are getting together to celebrate Passover with a meal. We refer to it as the “Last Supper” because it was the night before Jesus went to the cross.
The normal custom was for a servant to use a basin to wash the feet of all who came in for the supper. But on this night something was very different. The servant was Jesus! The Jesus the disciples had been traipsing around with over the past few years, the man they had seen heal people, feed thousands and spend His time telling them about His Father’s kingdom, knelt before them with towel in hand ready to wash their feet.
It wasn’t the first time He did something that baffled them. He was full of surprises. But this one, this one was just too much to handle without someone taking exception. It was Peter. Peter had a history of speaking up.
“You don’t plan to wash my feet, Lord? No way,” Peter said.
Jesus was patient with him. “You don’t get it right now, Peter, but you’ll understand this later.”
“This is not okay. I won’t let you do it, ” Peter protests.
“If you don’t get into this foot washing thing, Peter, you have missed the entire point of my being with you and you have no part of me,” Jesus said.
“Well if that’s the case, then wash all of me – my head, my heart, my feet!” Peter said.
When Jesus finished He sat back down at the table and told them that He had set the example for them and that they were now charged to serve one another and love others. He commanded them again to love. Wash feet. Serve. Do the lowly job. Set status and position aside.
John 13:34-35 “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples – when they see the love you have for each other.”
Maundy is from the Latin word to “command.” When we gather on Maundy Thursday we remember that Jesus commanded us to love and serve.
Maybe it’s just me but it seems like that “command” of Maundy Thursday services has taken a back seat to remembering the Last Supper sadly and reverently. The purpose of this last gathering was to sum it all up again; to explain it all one more time with a powerful display of love. Jesus took the place of the servant and washed feet knowing full well that His Father had given Him charge of everything (v.3). The most powerful man on the planet chose to wash feet to leave one last point of what He had been saying for three years.
Be challenged today, Maundy Thursday, to fulfill the command. Love one another. Wash feet.