Today is Maundy Thursday, a special Thursday for all Christians in the world as we commemorate Lord Jesus’s last night. That night, in His last Passover supper, He washed His disciples’ feet, spoke of the supper to be remembered (the bread and the wine event), told Peter about his denials, etc. But, as I read Love to the Uttermost , a devotional eBook written by John Piper specially for Holy Week, I was remembered of there is something more to be understood in Maundy Thursday.
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The word “maundy” refers to John 13:34, “A new commandment (mandatum movum) I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” So, the “Maundy Thursday” should be translated literally as “Thursday of the Commandment”.
This verse was later compared to Galatians 5:14, “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.'” as both verses seemed contradictory to each other. If the whole law is fulfilled in loving others as ourselves, what can loving others as Christ has loved us add more to the fulfillement of the whole law?
Jesus did not change or replace the commandment. He simply clarified it out. This is what He talks about: “Here is what I mean by ‘as yourself’. Watch me. I mean: Just as you 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 to live. Live to give others life. At any cost.”
Jesus, on the night before His death, was preparing Himself to face the sufferings and He ordered His disciples (including us) to love each other. He was reflecting upon His death that time He gave us the command so that in His death we may learn how to love others as Lord Jesus has loved us and as ourselves.
Although He was in His turmoil in facing His sufferings, “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” That joy was the everlasting gladness of His redeemed people who are satisfied by the presence of the risen King. Jesus’s love who wants to lay His own life for us, as in 1 John 3:16, is told to us so that we may learn what love is and really lay down our lives for the brothers. We also know that Jesus really, really loves us as He loves Himself because we, the church, are parts of His own body (Ephesians 5:29-30).
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As I read all of the things I summarized from today’s reading, I also found the answer of my problem the night before.
I have been trying to make people who are close to me disciples of Jesus Christ as I am learning to be one too. Because, if we only focus on the theory without never practicing, it is better that we do not learn it in the first place.
So, the night before I contacted a cousin of mine. She was – and she is still – my most trustworthy cousin as she knows my past deepest concerns and my own struggles more than any other cousins. I had a great fight with her last night as I was being too forceful in pleading her to read the “Multiply” material I had sent earlier.
It was partly my fault, but I though it was not completely my fault. I know I was telling others Christianity too forcefully and I knew it, so I asked God to give me more awareness in doing the right thing accordingly to Him. I am now learning to become a better disciple maker. I was not resisting that time. I let her scolded me with sharp and painful words. Even after I asked for her forgiveness, she unloaded her sharpest words. Again, I chose to stay silent.
But, did I get revenge on her? Did I lose my faith because of her rejection? Did I let my anger burn and just spit my thoughts on her face? No. I decided to be silent and prayed rightaway for her. I felt hurt, troubled and sad. But the strongest emotion I felt was guilt to God for I had just made one of my closest people went further from God.
But, Holy Spirit spoke this in my heart, “Love others as I myself has loved you, at any cost” and gave me reassurance that everything wil be fine. He has planned a time when that cousin of mine finally put God’s words she has been hearing to action and make disciples. I believe that God will do that. He will. He was also teaching me a lesson to not be forceful in telling others about Christianity.
What I am telling you is that loving others as Christ has loved us and as ourselves can cost us everything, even our life just to give them life. That is what Jesus did for us and what we ought to do in this life we have. However, when we are scolded and declined, this love we have for they who reject us must not cease; instead, that love has to grow as Jesus loves us to the uttermost in His eternal love.
As we are preparing ourselves for the commemoration of Jesus’s death, let this sharing teaches us of Jesus’s love, when He showed His love for us to the uttermost.
Lord Jesus blesses you!