Thursday, April 5, 2012

Reenacting Maundy Thursday

One of my fondest memories of my time serving as pastor at Memorial Baptist Church was when we held a special worship service to commemorate what is known as Maundy Thursday. We sang, prayed, and took communion. It was a very simple and very reflective time of worship. The word "maundy" comes from the latin word for "commandment" and takes its significance from John 13:34 when Jesus said to His disciples, "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." Jesus gave this command on the night before His crucifixion. He had gathered with His disciples to celebrate Passover. He breathed new meaning into the elements of the cup and the bread- instituting the Lord's Supper and demonstrated through washing His disciples' feet His purpose for the Son of God taking on flesh and dwelling among them. He came to serve... a very specific need. In Mark 10:45 Jesus said, "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." Maundy Thursday is a reminder then that the eternal Son of God humbled Himself by taking on flesh and dwelling among sinners (though not sinning Himself as He had no sinful nature) so that He might give His life to satisfy the wrath of God against sinful people. This is the greatest expression of humble servanthood and love there has ever been and will ever be!

As His disciples we are to imitated this kind of servanthood and this kind of love to one another as a testimony of Christ's work to redeem and transform us. We are knit together as family with other disciples. Neither Maundy Thursday or Easter Sunday are instructed to be celebrated in Scripture as special days. We are to reenact the servanthood and love of Christ and rejoice in the power of His resurrection every day-- especially every Lord's Day when we gather together as local covenantal congregations. However, it never hurts to give special attention to these things on special days. So consider today how you might serve and share the love of Christ with fellow disciples as a witness to those who need to hear and see the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus adds another critical statement in John 13:35 that gives motivation for verse 34, "Be this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

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