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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

1116: He made himself nothing, taking the nature of a servant, and washed the feet of his disciples

Day 1116: Holy Thursday, April 6, 2023

"He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, and washed the feet of his disciples"


(Please remember Knox Presbyterian & Thanksgiving Lutheran have invited us to celebrate Maundy Thursday with them at 6:00 this afternoon)


Today is Maundy Thursday, believed to be the day when Jesus celebrated Passover with His disciples and commanded them to love one another as he had. At the meal, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples in an extraordinary display of humility. He then asked them to do the same for each other.

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another" (John 13:34).

And then in order to show his love “he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, and washed the feet of his disciples”

John 13:2-17 – Jesus got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

Philippians 2:1-11 - "Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.

Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness...

Christians often call the meal on the night before Jesus was murdered the “Last Supper.” However, there were no Christians at that meal. They were all Jews because this was the Passover feast — the Seder. But they were not all the same kind of Jews. Around that table were people with many different lifestyles, beliefs, and doubts. One of them had even cut a deal with the police to help arrest Jesus!

Yet, everybody had a place at the table, no one was excluded. That was the point, as Jesus gathered together his extended family in preparation for his saying farewell. As The Didache, a First Century prayer put it,

As different grains have been gathered from the hills and baked into one bread so may your people be gathered from the ends of the earth…

There is much we can take from that Passover meal in Jerusalem centuries ago. It echoes to the present day. I will never forget Tammy, a nine-year-old girl dying of AIDS, saying to those of us in her room in final days of her life, “Remember me at the parties!” I believe that was partly what was in Jesus's heart that night, as his companions sang and danced to celebrate the Passover from slavery to freedom.

Someday it is going to be the time for each of us to leave something to those we love. What will it be?

- Brother Toby

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