Jill Jarrell Newsome
Maundy Thursday: Light In Darkness
I think we have all walked into something that we know was not going to end well. Whether it was a meeting about a job, a doctor for a diagnosis, a meeting with a spouse, a meeting about your child and many other scenarios. Most likely, we stressed about that situation as long as we were aware of it. It affected our mood, our appetite, our sleep, our stress levels, etc. Have you ever thought of Jesus?
Jesus knew the battles He was getting ready to face. He knew within a week the end of His life on earth was going to be like no other. He came to live, die and be resurrected. Think about how corrupt the government was and Jesus knew what He was walking into. There was so much sin. Innocent people were put to death in the coliseum as a form of entertainment. The emperors wanted to be worshiped.
Maundy Thursday is the Thursday of Holy Week. Jesus did a lot of new things on this day because it would be His last day with the disciples. Jesus began the traditional Passover dinner by washing the feet of each of the twelve disciples. He had never done this before.
If you knew you were going to die within a week what would you do? I am sure I would prioritize and take care of the most important things. But would that include washing my friends feet? That is what Jesus did. Their feet would have been dusty and cracked. A servant would normally have taken a basin and washed the feet of guests arriving for a meal. In the late 1990's I had a minister that would use foot washings for many of our spiritual retreat teams. My family will tell you I do not care for feet - only sweet baby piggies! That being said it did not bother me nearly as bad to wash someone else's feet as someone washing my feet. It was very uncomfortable and humbling. I cannot imagine if the King of Kings would have washed my feet. He would scrub away our insecurities, our doubts, our weariness, our bitterness, our deepest hurts! Jesus' words to Peter are also addressed to us: John 13: 8, "'No,' said Peter, 'you shall never wash my feet.'”
Jesus also talked about the sacrament of the blood and wine for the first time. The disciples had never heard of eating flesh. Jesus also told them of a new gift. The gift of the Holy Spirit which meant although He would not be beside them, He would be inside them. Jesus gave them a new commandment to love one another. John 13: 34, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."
Jesus calls us to bring order and peace to the chaos around us. We are to imitate Jesus. We are to let our line shine. Matthew 5: 16, "In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
Jesus brought order out of chaos in this world. He brought light into the darkness. We do not have to wait for Him to come to experience His peace. We can have it now. Jesus told his disciples that peace was the last gift He would give them. John 14: 27, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." Just like a great father would do Jesus' last actions were washing, feeding and teaching His children.