Looking for spiritual refreshment? God Pause email devotions are short, meaningful reflections on the following Sunday's lessons and gospel delivered directly to your email box. By Sunday, you'll be ready for an extra meaningful worship experience. 

Our devotion writers are Luther Seminary alumni. Their reflections are a gift to you and to the church.


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Thursday, March 28, 2013

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Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday is a name that evolved from a Latin word for "commandment." It is an allusion to Jesus' words in the last verse of our text for today: "A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." Jesus demonstrated his humble love by washing feet, like a servant.

A commandment isn't a suggestion or a piece of advice, and there's the rub for us. Washing a few feet is easy compared to what it takes for us to love some of the folks in our world! But there it is--a commandment that corners us, forces us to rise above our feelings of annoyance, resentment and perhaps even hatred, and leads us straight onto the path of costly discipleship.

But then, Jesus' love led him straight to the cross, dying even for those who failed, betrayed and murdered him. His love can create a powerful impulse within us, giving us the strength to love even the unlovable. That's the only way we can fulfill his new commandment.

Dear Jesus, teach us to love more fully and serve more willingly. Help us fulfill your new commandment. Amen.

Wendell Debner
Director Emeritus of the Doctor of Ministry Program, Luther Seminary
Master of Divinity , 1966

John 13:1-17, 31b-35 (NRSV)

1 Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

2 The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper

3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God,

4 got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself.

5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.

6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"

7 Jesus answered, "You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand."

8 Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no share with me."

9 Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!"

10 Jesus said to him, "One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you."

11 For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, "Not all of you are clean."

12 After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you?

13 "You call me Teacher and Lord--and you are right, for that is what I am.

14 "So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.

15 "For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.

16 "Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them.

17 ""If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

31b "Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.

32 "If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.

33 "Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, 'Where I am going, you cannot come.'

34 "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.

35 "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.