Today begins part of the climax of Holy Week. In church history, this day has been called Maundy Thursday.
This word maundy means commandment. It points to the command Jesus gave after washing his own disciples’ feet.
Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. (John 13:14-15)
Jesus knew who he was (see vs3), yet he responded as a servant.
Today we also recall the most vile betrayal of all time. Judas’s deceit would lead to the crucifixion of the Lamb of God. It truly is astonishing that Jesus invited to the table the one who would become his enemy. Perhaps it was at that point that an old song of David’s took on fresh meaning. We recall in the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus said multiple times, “You have heard it said . . . but I say to you . . . “ David once sang: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” And, of course, these words ring true, especially in light of the great enemy of God’s people, Satan.
Yet, what if those words of David could now be uttered as, “You prepare a table before me and I invite my enemies.” To invite one’s enemies is difficult. Perhaps one of the most difficult realities we would ever face. And how Christ did this with the one who would betray him unto death. It’s almost unfathomable (or maybe we cannot fully grasp it).
We are never told to identify who our enemies are. If people want to call us their enemies, that is their prerogative. But it is in that moment that Jesus’s words should spring forth: “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you . . .”
We stand amazed at and grateful for the work of Jesus. We being his enemies, as vile sinners, and yet he still took our place. The punishment he received, which was ultimately death, was our just dessert. Yet, instead, we receive life and resurrection.
Let us move into this weekend with deep gratitude and worship for what our God has done through Christ. Amen.