Lenten Prayer Guide: Holy Thursday

Holy Thursday


By Alan & Melissa Chettle

Campus Ministers, University of Alberta


Reflection: Thursday, April 1

Scripture: John 13:1-16

A final, heroic stand is something that our culture lauds and honours when the hero knows he is in for the battle of his life, and he can show his strength, power, authority, and dominance in an epic fight, winning everlasting glory for himself. It is not so with Jesus. John tells us that Jesus knows his time has come, and we know this will be an epic showdown, but not a showdown as the world understands it.


Two things show Jesus’ vastly different approach: “… having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. And, Jesus knew “that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was going back to God.” So, what does Jesus choose to do with this unmatchable power? Out of love for his disciples, he puts on the garment of the lowest slave, taking the humblest and dirtiest of the everyday, mundane tasks, and washes his disciples’ feet.


Simon Peter’s response in verses 8 and 9 shows how deeply the world can corrupt our view of Jesus. Instead of receiving this beautiful act of servant love, Simon tries to control how Jesus serves him – first by not allowing any washing, then by dictating the scope of the service. In truth, we are so like Peter, wanting to have relationship with Jesus on our own terms, dictating how he can love us.

Alan and Melissa Chettle

We also see that Jesus washed the feet of all his disciples, including Judas – whom he knew would soon betray him. What does this tell you about how Jesus sees you, and how worthy you are of his lavishing love upon you?


When we were planning our wedding, we wanted to wash each other’s feet as part of the marriage ceremony. It is a beautiful symbol of serving one another, but even more so, starting by washing each other’s feet was a declaration of desire to serve one another out of love. Whatever the circumstances, we serve one another out of our desire to love and honour each other. Washing each other’s feet is a reminder that we take on the tasks that aren’t glamourous because loving one another means laying ourselves down for each other, as Jesus does for us.


That is well and good when things are going well, but in seasons where we’re both exhausted from campus work, and the enthusiasm to serve one another wanes, our service has to come from the great strength that Jesus gives. There is only one who can be our supply when it’s 1 am, in a cold Albertan winter, the dishes need to be done after a wonderful feast, and we’re both scheduled to lead a 7 am prayer meeting the next morning – the choice to love and serve the other only comes from Christ.


Ponder: If you were in Peter’s shoes, how would you respond to Jesus’ asking to wash your feet? How is Jesus inviting you to see his act of service rightly? Do you need to let the Lord of Lords wash your feet?


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