Maundy Thursday Devotion 2020

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ! There has been a slight change in plans for our Maundy Thursday service. Instead of going live at 6 PM, I’ve decided to post my devotional here. Please feel free to share it as you are led...

Maundy Thursday Devotional
“A Two-fold Mandate”
by Rev. Jeff Tollison

The word “maundy” comes from the Latin word “mandate”, which means an official order or a commission to do something. Certainly, the disciples were told to practice Holy Communion “in remembrance of me (Jesus)” and His sacrifice. But after the supper was over, His mandates continue...

Please read John 13:5-11... “Then He *poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. So He *came to Simon Peter. He *said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” “Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.” Peter *said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter *said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” Jesus *said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you. ” For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.””

There may be areas of our life that we don’t want God to touch. Either we are embarrassed because we have an area that is knowingly very dirty (probably Peter’s dilemma with his feet), or we have an area that we perceive is already clean but is in fact not. Therefore, we resist God’s love, shown to us by His cleansing power. The mandate is to receive the cleansing love of Christ exactly where needed. Think for a moment where your dirtiest area may be. Is it in your inner thoughts about a certain taboo topic? Is it in an unproductive behavior done in secret? Your spiritual eyes are wide open. You are very aware of this area because you try your very best to keep it hidden from the rest of the world. Now, uncover that area and present it to the Lord. Give it over to the One who can actually redeem it. Take a moment to do this...

Now, what about that dirty area that is hidden to US? That area that WE have become blind to? That area where we think we are good to go, but in God’s spiritual eyes is hot mess at the very least. Maybe it’s your pride displayed in public which you think is just your honesty. Or maybe it’s your lust which is disguised as love. If you have any shred of doubt whether that area is clean, expose it to the Lord. Let Him decide if you need a deeper cleansing or not. Take a moment to do that as well...

I once got a belly laugh after taking my muddy Jeep to an automatic car wash station as I was passing through an unfamiliar town. The choices at the payment machine were “Good”, “Better”, and “A Jesus Baptism”. I knew that the owner of that car wash must be a devoted Baptist and a great salesman with a sense of humor. Without hesitation, I chose the most expensive option and would have left a “tip” of folded money if a jar were present.

Are we willing to yield ourselves fully to the Lord? Until we do, Jesus says “you will have no part with me.” Let’s face it, many people have a hard time receiving love. They merely want to be known as givers of it. They even have a hard time receiving praise. But until we receive the full, spiritual baptism of Christ, the high-priced one paid by his shed blood, He will keep saying “not all of you are clean”. So the first of the two-fold mandate is to RECEIVE LOVE. The second, we find in the verses that follow.

Please read John 13:12-17... “So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”
After sharing “The Last Supper” with His disciples, Jesus did something most unexpected. He proceeded to wash their filthy feet. And not only that, inferred that they would be blessed by doing the same with each other. But what’s more important than the actual foot washing is the love it represents. Jesus had brought up “love” many times before with His disciples, and in our passage demonstrated it in a simple, yet profound way. His mandate to His chosen and all who would dare to follow Him in the future is this...GIVE LOVE. But not in superficial and impersonal ways; instead in self-sacrificial, visible, and in real-time ways.

We preachers are guilty sometimes of, after hearing someone pour their hearts out to us, simply responding with, “Well, I’ll pray for ya.” Don’t we know that dropping down to our knees, putting our hand on that needy person’s shoulder, and praying right then and there will produce more spiritual fruit?
Sure we do, if we ever did that even once before.

Years ago, I had the privilege of doing a foot washing service for my appointed church members whom I knew I’d be leaving in June. It was my first time to administer such a service. I wanted them to remember that I loved them deeply and unconditionally. This is giving love like Jesus! He knew His time was short, and made good use of it. At my church, joyous tears were shed; and not just by the participants and I, but the witnesses too. Emotions run high when you are touched by the Spirit of Jesus. Peter knew this, and we should expect no less.

During this COVID-19 crisis, Christians have a lot more time on their hands. Are we using it wisely? Are we using it lovingly? Of course we can’t be with many of our friends physically. We have to practice social distancing. But what about our own household family members? Have they seen Christ’s “giving love” in us lately? If not, maybe we need to repent, turn to God, and lift up those dirty areas of our life that still need to be cleansed. Maybe we need to get fully baptized by the Holy Spirit so that we can have the right spirit in service. Maybe we need to see God’s love before we try to serve it blindfolded. Jesus did not say “wash my feet and then I’ll wash yours”. He let them receive His love first so that they could have the right heart in order to give. So the two-fold mandate is first to receive love fully, then you will be able to give it fully. For one cannot give what they haven’t yet received.

May you have a very clean Maundy Thursday and very blessed Holy Week!

  April 2021  
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