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 now showed them the full extent of his love. John 13:1 (NIV)

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35 (NLT)

Lord Jesus, it’s the day of Holy Week we call today Maundy, or “Mandate” Thursday—a day crammed full of glory and overflowing with grace. Israel’s Passover will become the Lord’s Supper—your supper. The entire Old Covenant system of endless temple sacrifices would soon be fulfilled by the once-and-for-all sacrifice of your perfect life (Heb. 10:12). Indeed, “behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

Having shared eternal glory with the Father, you now show measureless grace to your disciples. Having loved these beautiful broken men well—men who vied for positions of honor a few hours earlier (Mk. 10:35-45), men who would soon all scatter and leave you—having loved them so well, you now show them the full extent of your love.

But the humility you showed by disrobing to wash their feet, was just a preview of the humiliation you were to endure—being stripped naked, publicly shamed, and nailed to the cross… all for the washing of their hearts, and ours. What wondrous love is this, indeed—how wide, long, high, and deep (Eph. 3:14-19). “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13 NLT). Thank you, Lord, for loving us extravagantly, fully, wondrously.

How then shall we respond? We don’t have to guess. “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34). This is the New-and-never-ending Command you’ve given us, as your disciples. The most important expression of our “getting” the gospel is for us to love others as you have loved us. Lord, have mercy on us.

Forgive us, Jesus, for of all the ways we love poorly… in thought, word, and deed. Free us for a new season of loving well, to your glory. So very Amen we pray, in your holy and loving name.