The Thursday before Easter is called "Maundy" (or mandate) Thursday. It marks the day when Jesus celebrated his final Passover (the Last Supper) with his disciples before being betrayed with a kiss and arrested in the early morning hours.
Just a few hours earlier he had predicted his gruesome death once again. You can cut the tension with a knife as they gathered in the upper room. This was the Rabbi's final teaching moment, and two remarkable things happened at this dinner:
1. JESUS WASHED THE FEET OF HIS DISCIPLES. In the first century, this simply wasn't done. Slaves washed their masters' feet, never the other way around. So why did Jesus do this? To teach them HUMILITY. By his example he taught them the importance of being a HUMBLE SERVANT and commanded them to do the same.
2. JESUS GAVE THEM A NEW COMMAND TO LOVE: "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." (John 13:34). JESUS EXPANDED THE DEFINITION OF LOVE by his words and his example to include everyone, even those who hate you and seek to destroy you.
Read the beautiful description of this Passover meal from John 13:1-17, 33-36 (NLT) and be blessed today:
Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”
“No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!”
Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”
Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!”
Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.” For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.
Dear children, I will be with you only a little longer. And as I told the Jewish leaders, you will search for me, but you can’t come where I am going. So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
Simon Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?” And Jesus replied, “You can’t go with me now, but you will follow me later.”