by Laura MacCorkle, Crosswalk.com Contributor
How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
“How Deep the Father’s Love for Us”
Words & Music by Stuart Townend
The word maundy means “a new commandment” and is derived from the Latin word Mandatum in translating Jesus’ commandment in John 13:34-35.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Before he said that, Jesus had demonstrated his love that same evening during the Last Supper, as he humbled himself and washed his disciples’ feet (John 13:4-5). This act perfectly illustrated his new command.
So he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
After reading this, I can only imagine what washing someone else’s stinky feet must be like.
Think about where your feet have been—especially if you live in a back-to-nature, shoe-optional locale. This starts getting very up close and personal. And, depending on the individual and their hygiene habits or lack thereof, perhaps not too pleasant. Washing another’s feet is not a glamorous act of service at all. But neither is anything related to the role of a servant, since it represents a position of humility and a mindset of putting others first.
In this day and age, I know there are certain churches that do have foot-washing services on Maundy Thursday to commemorate Christ’s actions and his command. I have not participated in one like this, but I am sure it is a great object lesson to help all ages understand how to love one another.
Taking this a step further, The Bible Knowledge Commentary has this to say about foot-washing:
“Foot-washing was needed in Palestine. The streets were dusty and people wore sandals without socks or stockings. It was a mark of honor for a host to provide a servant to wash a guest’s feet; it was a breach of hospitality not to provide for it. . . . [Jesus] had done a humble service for [the disciples]. Meeting others’ needs self-sacrificially is what they ought to do too. . . . This passage emphasizes inner humility, not a physical rite. . . . Not to follow the example of Jesus is to exalt oneself above him and to live in pride. No servant is greater than his master (cf John 12:26).”
So when we humble ourselves and serve the Lord as he served us, it is he who lifts us up. When we love Christ, he changes our hearts and motivates us to love others. And if showing this love means washing some stinky feet or its modern-day equivalent, then every day should become like Maundy Thursday in our hearts.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and keep my laws (Ezek. 36:26-27).
Intersecting Faith & Life: Who is God impressing upon your heart today? Is he calling you to show love to this person? Determine your course of action that will show a humble heart: make a phone call, send a note, lend a hand, speak a kind word or wash some feet. And then follow through as you love one another.
Luke 10:27, MSG
John 15:13, NIV
“Oh How He Loves You and Me”
Words & Music by Kurt Kaiser