So what image do you consider on Maundy Thursday?
There are many different practices and household connections made on the day before
Good Friday, and each person reflects in their own way as they enter the Easter weekend. Traditionally this is the time where we reflect on Christ displaying His love for His people as a Servant-King, washing the feet of His disciples. What an image to hold as we consider the events about to unfold in the coming hours.
An interesting comparison came to me today as I read through the Exodus, specifically post-Passover, people of God in the wilderness, as the specifications are handed down for the Tabernacle and Aaron’s priestly garb. Beyond it sounding like an awful lot of clothes to wear while butchering livestock and working around fire, which is my literal imagination at work, there is a lot of great imagery here. The one piece in particular that stood out to me is mentioned twice for the priests, and connected with my thoughts regarding Maundy Thursday and spiritual leadership:
“Take two onyx stones, and engrave on them the names of the tribes of Israel. Six names will be on each stone, arranged in the order of the births of the original sons of Israel. Engrave these names on the two stones in the same way a jeweler engraves a seal. Then mount the stones in settings of gold filigree. Fasten the two stones on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod as a reminder that Aaron represents the people of Israel. Aaron will carry these names on his shoulders as a constant reminder whenever he goes before the LORD.”
No matter what was happening in the Tabernacle, God set the priests out as identifiable by their garments, so the people would not miss them. They were set in place with a purpose, and the people relied on them to fulfil this purpose for the whole community of God: To bring them before the throne. Can you imagine having that level of responsibility placed on your entire family tree? No, “I’m not sure if I can do this” mentioned here, just a clear mandate handed to the sons of Aaron.
The part I often miss is that the names of the people were written on the clothes. Not so God would remember who the priests were representing. Not an attendance sheet to see who made it the feasts and sacrifices. It was a reminder to the priest himself. You represent the people, you carry out the sacrifice for them, you are coming before God on their behalf. The garment called him to put any form of individualism and self-honour aside.
Fast-forward to Maundy Thursday. Christ takes a towel, kneels before His disciples, and washes feet. A great dialogue on who should wash who ensues, and Jesus clarifies the point. The Son of Man came to serve, not to be served. The King has taken the names of His people upon Him. What would begin the time of His greatest need, the traumatic road to the cross, would all start with a humbling act of service to those who needed to get the point.
As you lead out in the setting God has placed you, consider your responses to the situations you encounter regularly. How do you impart the Servant-King’s love to those within your reach? What about when you know the road ahead may not be an easy one? Consider the path of the Saviour.
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