The events of the Thursday before Jesus’ death and resurrection are recounted each year by Christians around the world in an observance known as Maundy Thursday. In the evening Jesus stooped to wash the feet of his disciples, ate a last meal with them, instituted the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, gave them final instructions, was betrayed and arrested.
Maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum from which we get our word “mandate.” On that Thursday evening, Jesus gave his disciples a new command. “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34)
Jesus did not leave us to wonder what our love for one another should be like. Gail O’Day writes, “..the foot washing reveals the promise of full relationship with God and Jesus that is offered to those whom Jesus loves. By washing his disciples’ feet, Jesus enters into an intimate relationship with the disciples that mirrors the intimacy of his relationship with God.” Here Jesus is “host and intimate servant.” As his disciples, we are to be humble servants of one another and for him. As his disciples, our love for one another should mirror Jesus’ love for God and his love for us.