“[Jesus said,] ‘Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples– when they see the love you have for each other.’”

~John 13:34-35

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Mandatum. The Latin word for “command” is at the root of Maundy Thursday, the night in which Jesus issues the command to his disciples to love one another. In 1 Corinthians 11:24-26, Paul quotes Jesus’ Maundy Thursday words: “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me. This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do, this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Just as the joy of Easter is undermined if we ignore the sorrow and grief of Good Friday, ignoring Maundy Thursday also diminishes Easter’s joy. Maundy Thursday gives us a beautiful picture of Christ’s love-filled sacrifice in the Bread and Cup of Communion. It’s crucial that we remember that Jesus’ body was sacrificed for us. His blood establishes a new covenant with God that calls us to new life in Christ. Maundy Thursday thus forces us into the world around us to obey the command that Christ not only gave, but modeled.

This Maundy Thursday, may the love of Christ overflow from you into the lives of the people surrounding you!