A Prayer for Maundy Thursday
Now before Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. (John 13:1) A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34-35)
Dear Lord Jesus, as I meditate and pray my way through these Scriptures, I feel awe and great joy. What but the gift of faith can enable me to grasp the wonder of these words and the magnificence of this moment in the upper room? What but the power of the gospel can enable me to believe that you really love me like this; and then love others the way you love me? Grant me both, I pray, grant me both.
On our calendar we call this day Maundy (Mandate) Thursday. It is a day of Holy Week and a day in the history of redemption brimming over with drama and doxology; glory and grace; pathos and praise. Passover will soon become the Lord’s Supper—your supper. The promises of the Old Covenant will soon be fulfilled by the blood of the New Covenant—your blood.
Having shared eternal glory with the Father, you now show stunning grace to your disciples. Having loved this ragtag bunch of broken men—who squabbled with each other hours earlier for positions of honor, and who within a few hours would all scatter and deny you—having loved them so well, you now show them even greater manifestations of your love. What a Savior you are…
Your disrobing to wash their feet was with a full view to your being stripped naked to wash their hearts, and our hearts as well. What wondrous love is this indeed! How wide, long, high, and deep, is your love for the ill-deserving.
“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34). This is the new and never-ending mandate we’re now under as your disciples. Grace doesn’t free us from this command, but for this command. Don’t let me ever forget that the measure of your love is not just the basin and towel of the upper room, but your cross and your death at Calvary. There simply is no greater love to be found—none.
Lord Jesus, as my heart comes more fully alive to how you loved me by your death and how you love me now in your resurrection glory, I’ll seek to make fewer excuses for loving poorly and to offer quicker repentances when I do. As you continue to show me the full extent of your love for me in the gospel, love through me more fully to your glory. So very Amen I pray in your holy and grace-full name.