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Maundy Thursday





  • Psalm 113:1-4, 12-19
  • Exodus 12:1-14
  • 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
  • John 13:1-17, 31b-35

Services around the world today recall fondly the evening before Jesus was condemned and hung on

a cross…the high point being a meal that is called the Last Supper

Three of the four gospels contain a narrative of the Last Supper, and Jesus’ sharing of bread and

wine with the Apostles, sealing the new covenant…we now call this rite Communion, or the Lord’s


John’s gospel instead paints a picture of the Maundy, or Jesus’ washing of the feet of his Apostles

An act of humble servant leadership…an example for all leaders to follow

I find three lessons in Jesus’ actions in this reading…I’m sure there are many more

1) “Servants are not greater than their masters”

Jesus was always clear to point to the Father, making himself lesser than God

It was important to connect himself to the God of the Old Testament

The God who laid down the law that the Pharisees were the keepers of

But Jesus’ actions on this night teach us that masters are not greater than their servants

Masters are sometimes called to be the ones doing the dirty work for their subordinates

When Jesus later tells us to love one another, he does not mean only in our peer group

He means for us to love EVERYONE, up and down in social standing and all nationalities

We have all worked for bosses who acted in this manner, at least I hope that we have

It is a remarkable thing to serve someone who strives to serve you

Bosses like this are the light Jesus speaks of, attracting even more dedication from us

Be Jesus’ light in the world today

2) “Messengers are not greater than the one who sent them”

Again, Jesus was always clear to point to the Father, making himself God’s messenger

We teach that Jesus was a part of the Holy Trinity, as in such, was God himself

But the subjects of that time needed to know from where Jesus’ authority came

He needed them to understand that his authority came from a higher power than he

He continually linked his power to the one who provided manna from heaven and escape from


His expertise on biblical and moral matters confounded the religious experts of his day

How could one human known so much?

Why could he not be trapped in his words?

The deeper layer to this lesson is that WE ARE ALL MESSENGERS

Oh, we do not carry a message straight from God…or do we?

Do we not carry “love God and love your neighbor” everywhere we go?

And who was the source of our message? Jesus the Christ, himself!

My friends, we ARE messengers, we are less than the one who sends us, and the world

desperately needs our message right now

3) “Love one another; by this everyone will know that you are my disciples”

At one time or another in your life, some older person told you that actions speak louder than


At one time or another in your life, you have told some younger person that actions speak

louder than words

At this time in the history of the world, Jesus tells all of us that actions speak louder than words

And Jesus gave the best examples of what he was talking about

Jesus turned water into wine

Jesus healed the sick and the blind and all comers

Jesus fed the five thousand, and who knows how many more

When we do things out of servant leadership, we, like Jesus, become a magnet

The nectar of spring may bring out the bees

Cheese may bring the mice out of hiding

But love, my friends, cuts across all human boundaries

Love, given with no expectation of return, always wins

We are the lovers the world so desperately needs

I said a bit earlier that John’s gospel does not contain an account of the meal known as the Last


Do not take that to mean that John speak of Jesus’ teachings on bread

From John 6:26-29

  • Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

The food that endures for eternal life and is given to us by the Son of Man is love

Nothing more, nothing less

We are given love in copious amounts by the Father

We were told, and are compelled, to share it

From John 6:30-34

  • So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

“Bread from heaven to eat,” indeed… ”True bread from heaven that gives life to the world”

It cannot be better said than “Sir, give us this bread always.”

From John 6:35-40

  • Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.”

Many people on planet Earth go hungry and thirsty in the obvious way

Many more people are starving spiritually, looking for material things that fulfill them

Thinking that they have all of the answers…but they don’t…I was one of them

Those who believe in the Savior are never hungry and never thirsty

They delight in the bread from heaven and the waters of grace that come from the Father

All of those will be raised up on the last day, as was Jesus Christ…on the third day


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