Thinking Thursday: Thursday of the Commandment

[Taken from Love to the Uttermost: Holy Week with John Piper.]
Maundy_Thursday_07_washing_feet_diocese_St_Asaph
Today is Maundy Thursday. The name comes from the Latin mandatum, the first word in the Latin rendering of John 13:34, “A new commandment (mandatum novum) I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” This commandment was given by Jesus on the Thursday before his crucifixion. So Maundy Thursday is the “Thursday of the Commandment.”

This is the commandment: “Love one another: just as I have loved you.” But what about Galatians 5:14? “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘you shall love your neighbour as yourself.'” If the whole law is fulfilled in “Love your neighbour as yourself,” what more can “Love one another as Christ loved you” add to the fulfilment of the whole law?

I would say that Jesus did not replace or change the commandment, “Love your neighbour as you love yourself.” He filled it out and gave it clear illustration. He is saying,

Here is what I mean by “as yourself.” Watch me. I mean: just as he would want someone to set you free from certain death, so you should set them free from certain death. That is how I am now loving you. My suffering and death is what I mean by “as yourself.” You want life. Live to give others life. At any cost.

So John says, “by this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers” (1 John 3:16). Was Jesus loving us “as he loved himself“? Listen to Ephesians 5:29 – 30, “no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ loved the church, because we are members of his body.”

In the horrors of his suffering, Christ was sustained “by the joy that was set before him” (Hebrews 12:2). And that surely was the everlasting gladness of his redeemed people, satisfied in the presence of the risen King.

Therefore, let us see the greatest love in action on Maundy Thursday and tomorrow on Good Friday. “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (John 13:1). He loved us to the outermost. And let us be so moved by this love that it becomes our own. “He laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” This is the commandment. This is the Thursday.

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About Ann Marie Thomas

Married since 1974, Christian since 1986, 4 children, 4 grand children, disabled with fibromyalgia but was working almost full time until a stroke in May 2010 changed my life completely. Writing poetry and making up stories since I was a child, I only started to write seriously when my children were grown. My main ambition is to write science fiction, but along the way I got distracted by local history and poetry about my stroke. Taking early retirement gave me the chance to concentrate on my writing. My book, Alina, The White Lady of Oystermouth, was published in print and ebook at Easter 2012. The success of Alina led to the publication of Broken Reed: The Lords of Gower and King John in September 2013, and The Magna Carta Story at Easter 2015. I am still writing science fiction - a series of novels called Flight of the Kestrel. For all my author news, see me author blog at www.annmariethomas.me.uk
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