Maundy Thursday Devotion

Maundy Thursday devotion

The summer of 2000, I spent the summer as an intern with my youth pastor serving in the youth ministry at his church in Maryland. I was excited about seeing my mentor for a whole summer especially after he accepted God’s call to move to Maryland just before my Senior year of high school. One of the first things that happened that summer was youth camp. For the first time, I went to camp as a counselor and not a camper. I began to see all the work and preparation that went into running a youth camp. I saw how Steve carefully planned the church devotion time each night.

Before the Wednesday night church devotion time, Steve called all the adults and interns together to discuss what we would be doing that night. He informed us that we would be washing each other’s feet. I had never experienced that before and was definitely a little scared because I knew how disgusting my feet could be! He waked us through the process and what we would tell each of the students as we washed their feet upon entry that night. It was a great time of serving the youth group. But then Steve came to every leader and began washing their feet. I began to feel like Peter as Steve approached me. Surely I did not deserve to have my feet washed. I should be washing Steve’s feet because of all the things he had done for me in my life.

Read John 13:1-5

Jesus met with His disciples one last time. It was for the Passover meal. John’s gospel gives us a different perspective on what happened that night. John focuses on Jesus serving His disciples. Think about what the disciples might have been feeling that night. They had probably shared this Passover meal together previously. But as they entered the room where they would share the Passover, Jesus began to wash their feet. He willingly got down on His hands and knees and washed the dirt off each of the disciples’ feet. This act was typically reserved for a slave not the Rabbi. This act was degrading and should have been done by someone other than Jesus. But Jesus set the example of humility for His disciples to follow.

Think about what might have been going through the minds of the disciples as Jesus came to each of them and began washing the gunk and grime off of their feet. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine what it must have felt like to have your Rabbi, your leader to wash your feet. How would you respond if your boss at work came to your work station, took off your shoes, and began to wash your feet?

Read John 13:6-11

Then Jesus approached Peter. Peter had seen what Jesus did for the other disciples and he decided to put a stop to it. He even told Jesus to not touch his feet. Peter saw Jesus as his leader and thought the foot washing should have been the other way around. But then Jesus tells Peter that He must was Peter’s feet. Jesus said that for Peter to be part of what Jesus’ ministry plan moving forward that Peter needed to let his feet be washed. Peter then asked for a full bath!

Would you have responded like Peter? I know I did when my youth pastor came to wash my feet. I saw him as my leader and mentor and to heave him wash my feet was an experience that I would never want to change. It humbled me. It helped me understand that I need to accept not only the help of my mentors but also the grace that God gives. Christ offers to take all those things in our lives that burden us down. Far too often we want to hold onto them rather than let Jesus take them and allow Him to minister to us.

Read John 13:12-20

So why did Jesus do this? He explains to His disciples the importance of serving others. He tells them that everyone should be willing to serve others regardless of what it may take. If Jesus was willing to wash the dirty feet of His disciples, they should in turn be willing to serve others no matter what. Jesus points toward the fact that they need to carry on what He started and live in such a way that they serve others around them.

As followers of Christ we must be willing to live humble lives of service. We must be willing to get dirty at times and help those around us. People are hurting today. The world is fearful. We have the hope that people around us need. We need to be willing to put into action those things we say we believe. We must be willing to serve others in love so they can be drawn to Jesus.


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