We call it Maundy Thursday. Maundy is Latin for ‘mandate.’ On Maundy Thursday, Jesus met with His disciples for the last time before He is crucified. And He mandated that they wash one another’s feet just as He has washed their feet.
Thursday was jam-packed. The Passover meal, washing of feet, drops of blood, and Judas’ kiss.
Jesus took the circular flatbread and began to tear it into pieces and pass it out to His disciples. “This is my body, broken for you.” He poured the wine, “This is the blood of the New Covenant.” His impending sacrifice on the cross would be for the cleansing of sin, washing us whiter than snow. The filth of our soul would be wet and wiped away as if it had never been there. Cleansing came as they ate the bread and drank the wine. Perhaps, it brought back to their memory His words:
Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” (NIV)
The cleansing effect of His death could only be fully experienced if we should apply His death to our own life. As food nourishes the body, His death brings life to our soul. His death was the atonement sacrifice for all sin so that whosoever believes might have eternal life (John 3:16). It was a general cleansing for the human race. Then Jesus goes deeper.
Pushing away from the table, Jesus stands and removes His outer clothing, placing a cloth around His waist. He kneels and begins to wash the feet of the disciples. The stench of sweaty feet in leather sandals hung in His nostrils, He dipped His hands into the water, pressing the water against the dirt stuck on their flesh. Using His hands, He wiped the dirt and mud down their feet into the water, then drying them with His towel.
Peter objected. Jesus said it was a must. “Wash my whole body then,” Peter replied. Jesus explained that those whose body was cleaned needed only to wash their feet. Salvation had cleaned their body, but it was sanctification that would wipe the sludge from their feet. Jesus gave them the bread and wine and they drank for themselves. He did not tell them to feed each other or put the cup up to one another’s lips, but Jesus mandated on this Maundy Thursday that they wash one another’s feet.
Salvation is individual. It is between a man and His God. You can not give me salvation nor can I give it to you. It is a gift from God that each of us must accept on our own. But the cleansing, washing with the Word of God (Ephesians 5:25-28) is a deep cleansing that we all take part in. Christ has washed us clean, but then there is a deeper cleansing. It is the imputed righteousness growing to imparted righteousness. The body, each anointed by the Spirit to help one another grow and mature, wash one another’s feet, to be made holy. The water is the Spirit, and we are mandated each to apply the Spirit to one another through the Word for encouraging, teaching, exhorting, spurring, inspiring, bearing, lifting, and cleansing. Not by our power, but His power in our hands pressed against one another’s flesh.
How important then is the church? This is what Maundy Thursday is all about. To be involved, connected to the body leads us to a deeper place with God. This cleansing brings the full measure of God’s goodness (Ephesians 4:11-13).
Sure, we can worship on our own. We can sing and shout as we drive down the road. Worship flows from us in the natural beauty of our walks in the garden and hikes along the peaks. But we still need the church. And who wasn’t connected to the body? Judas.
The agony of prayer interrupted by a betrayer’s kiss. The kiss of the disconnected is lukewarm betrayal.
When we disconnect from the church, growth becomes more difficult with less momentum. We do not stop believing, but we allow distance. We kiss His cheek but He is not our God. Lips to His flesh, not for adoration, but money. The slime remains and thickens. Judas, who once shared the glorious power of delivering demons to the glory of God, is now filled Himself by the chief demon to dishonor God. He had allowed himself to disconnect emotionally dismissing the teaching moments. Politely agreeing with Peter, James, and John secretly calling them a fool’s fool.
We must never be content with salvation alone, but continue growing in our sanctification. Never let your feet stay dirty and never forget that our feet are washed by others in the church.
Maundy Thursday is a time to consider the mandate of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. What about you? Are you connected to the church? Do you allow others to speak the Word of God and the Holy Spirit into your life or have you drifted away? Are you active in the church applying the water of the Word and Spirit to others? Do you find your self sitting in church, off to yourself, not washing nor being washed?
Leave me a comment about how another believer helped you grow in your faith or how you helped another grow in their faith.
Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!