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For Jesus, Maundy Thursday was a night of intense temptation and bitter betrayal–a night when He faced the horrible fact that He would soon be cut off from His Father.

Yet with all this pressing on His heart, our beautiful Jesus made time to comfort and instruct His fearful little band. In the upper room He taught His disciples many lessons–including a lesson on love.

Maundy is Latin for mandate. Jesus mandated (commanded) His disciples to love one another.

How could it be any other way? The Savior-Master whom we follow is love. His every thought, word, and action are pure love. How could His followers not be people of love?

By the power of the Spirit working through the message of redeeming love, we have been set apart to be people of God’s love. Jesus’ new commandment to love is an encouragement to live out the new life He has implanted within us. He gives us faith. Where there is faith in Christ, love will follow.

Why then is there so often a lack of love within Christian homes and congregations? Why so much strife and hurt feelings? Where is the love? Sad to say it is so often missing in our dealings with our fellow family members and Christian friends. It ought not be so. It is a shame when it is so.

High Standards

It has been said that if Satan can’t get in the front door, he’ll sneak in the back. The church of pure doctrine says it will not allow Satan to get in the front door and twist God’s truth. But does she strive with equal fervor against the devil’s back-door method? Does she fight against Satan’s attempts to sow within its membership seeds of bitterness and resentment?

The family that stresses home devotions may take its stand for the truth, but does it also strive to develop within itself a spirit of Christian love and forgiveness?

Jesus knew how important it would be for His New Testament people to love one another. It was so essential that He addressed the subject on the eve of His death. Perhaps pastors, church members, and family members would do well to review what the Spirit says through Paul in 1 Corinthians 13. An honest reading of that text must certainly humble us. It reminds us that love has incredibly high standards and that we have failed miserably to meet them.

More essentially, however, let one and all see the desperate need to return to that tiny mountain called Calvary which towers with God’s insurmountable love!

God’s love will still receive and cleanse unloving people, such as you and I often are. That love can still change our often selfish and proud hearts; that love will bless our work together as congregations and our living together as families.

” . . . Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. . . . ” (Eph. 5:1).

–Pastor Michael Wilke