Today is Maundy Thursday. This is a day I never observed growing up that I can remember. But I have come to realize over the last couple years just how powerful it is to think about what Jesus must have experienced the day before he was crucified.
This day is called Maundy Thursday because of the command Jesus gave to his disciples:
The name comes from the Latin mandatum, the first word in the Latin rendering of John 13:34, “A new commandment (mandatum novum) I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John Piper, Love to the Uttermost).
This is important to me because of what it means for the church. This means that we are expected to actually engage with each other in love. This requires the church to exist in some real, tangible and practical way. It is not just a concept or idea that we believe to be true. We are expected to do something!
The church is expressed in the way we love one another. How do we love one another? When Jesus tells us to love one another as we love ourselves (Galatians 5:14), he is saying this:
Just as you would want someone to set you free from certain death, so you should set them free from certain death. That is how I am now loving you. My suffering and death is what I mean by ‘as yourself.’ You want life. Live to give others life. At any cost. (John Piper, Love to the Uttermost).
Today as we prepare for Good Friday, may we ponder the importance of loving one another. This is an appropriate and expected response to Jesus’ sacrifice.