A Prayer for Thursday of Holy Week: Maundy Thursday
Now before the 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
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
Lord Jesus, as I meditate and pray my way through these Scriptures, I’m quite literally undone. I’m deeply convicted and filled with incredible joy at the same time. What but the gift of faith can enable us to grasp the wonder of these words and the magnificence of this moment? What but the power of the gospel can enable us to believe and obey them? Grant us both, I pray, grant me both.
On our calendar we call this day Maundy or Mandate Thursday. It is a day of Holy Week and a moment in the history of redemption filled with glory and grace—overflowing with meaning and mercy. Passover was about to become the Lord’s Supper—your supper. The promises of the Old Covenant were about to 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. There is no Savior like you, Lord Jesus, none.
Your disrobing to wash their feet was with a full view to your being stripped naked to wash their hearts and our hearts, my heart. What wondrous love is this indeed! How wide, long, high, and deep? Don’t let us ever forget that the measure of your love is not just the basin and towel of the upper room, but your cross and death at Calvary. There simply is no greater love—none.
”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 that identifies us as your disciples. No matter how much we know, how hard we work, how much we give… if we don’t love as you love us, it’s all for naught (1 Cor. 13:1-8). How humbling.
Jesus, please, please help our slow and dull hearts to come more fully alive to how you loved us by your death and how you love us now in your resurrection glory. By faith and grace, we will seek to make fewer excuses for loving poorly and offer quicker repentances when we do so. Continue to show us the full extent of your love for us in the gospel, that we might love more fully to your glory. So very Amen we pray, in the kindness and wonder of your beautiful name.