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.  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. 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 scatter and leave you—having loved them so well, you showed 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. Soon you would be stripped naked, publicly shamed, and nailed to the cross. Through your gift of selfless love and supreme sacrifice, we are made new and clean, reconciled to our Father and citizens of heaven.

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, Jesus, 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 critical expression of our “getting” the gospel is to love others as you have loved us. Oh, how we need your grace and the Spirit’s work to do so.

Have mercy on us, Jesus. Forgive us for all the ways we love poorly—in thought, word, and deed. Humble, free, and empower us for a new season of loving well—loving our families, friends, and neighbors to your glory. So very Amen we pray, in your glorious and triumphant name.