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. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Here is where we get the name, Maundy Thursday, or in plain English, Command Thursday. The New commandment, that is as new as it is fundamental to creation; the New commandment, that you love one another just as Christ has loved you.
And how has He loved you? How does He love us today? It is in His Body and Blood. Jesus, the Teacher, the one who knows and understands all things, the best communicator and He has the best message; after all He is the truth! And Jesus is Lord, Master of all, God Almighty, through Him all things were made! He is boss, and all things are under His authority, King of kings and God of gods (Matthew 28:18-20; Deuteronomy 10:17). He is truly the greatest, the union of Creator and Creation, the fulfillment of all God’s promises, the fullness of time (Ephesians 1:10; Galatians 4:4). But all that is just a description of who He is. How does He love us?
He loves us by serving us, healing us, and knowing us. In His condescension, the Ruler coming down from on High to wash feet from filthy streets. You might have a job, a business, a doctorate, whatever; but we come down to serve our children, to clean up that filthy nappy. This is the relationship God grows with us, and Jesus says, in the same way serve each other. No matter how lowly we might see those in this congregation, how weak or undesirable our brother or sister in Christ; Jesus calls us to love and serve them as He first loved and served us; dying for us who were His enemies (Romans 5:10). Dying to save His people, from our ancient forefathers in the faith; those preparing that first Passover, Pascha, that pointed forward to its fulfilment in Christ. A meal with God, hosted by Jesus Himself, food enough for all; their house saved by the blood of the Lamb, and those at the meal ready to go out and live with God in the desert, toward the promised land. That tradition from Jesus passed onto Paul and down through the ages to us by the Body of Christ, the Church. The proclamation of Christ’s death shared and eaten until He comes. Jesus, He loves us by coming down to know us and serve us.
God Almighty, Lord of lords, comes down to you and me, insignificant though we be; to serve us a meal, to serve Himself as our salvation. His body given for us, and bringing us into Himself, that He knows us and we know Him; His blood covering us, washing away the stain of our sins and saving us from the power of death as the blood of the lamb all those years ago. We cry out for mercy, for forgiveness, for life; and God has heard us, He sent His Son to save us; to defeat our enemies, sin death and the devil, and it is finished! As we come tonight, the memorial of the Last Supper, as we come again to participate with Peter, with John; to be served by Christ as even Judas was; to be in communion, to have that common union with Jesus Christ, the fullness of time, and so to participate in that Last Supper in the upper room, in the giving and shedding of Christ’s Body and Blood on the cross tomorrow, with all His people down the ages and across the world as we lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord, and also to participate, to share, to receive a foretaste of the feast, of the life to come! (Revelation 19:6-9). We proclaim Christ’s death until He comes, we declare His Victory over sin death and the devil; Here tonight, in rhythm together with the whole Church, in step with Christ, we share in The Holy Eucharist and call on the Name of the Lord.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, now and forevermore! Amen!
Pastor Joseph Graham.