The Easter Story re:visited…
Question: drawing Easter bunnies, egg painting, bonnet decorating, making chocolate nests with fluffy chicks, and taking part in Easter egg hunts; what do all these things have in common?
Answer: They’re all good, fun spring-term activities which my son has been doing in his nursery this week. But let’s face it, none of them have any real relevance to the Easter story…
So right at the start of this Easter weekend, amidst all of the excitement and celebrations and gathering with family and friends… let’s also take a moment of pause to remember and re-centre ourselves on the true story at the heart of it all.
THE OPENING OF THE STORY…
The Easter story is a story that, like many good stories, begins over a meal eaten amongst close friends…
And it wasn’t just any old meal either.
It was probably a passover meal, which is really to say that it was about remembering how God had already rescued Moses and the Israelites in Egypt.
It was also the ‘last supper’, a final meal between these friends which ended with Jesus warning his inner circle about how He wouldn’t be with them like this for much longer.
And finally, it was a learning moment, in which Jesus washed each of his disciple’s feet, and then encouraged them to do the same for each other as well…
What does Maundy Thursday Mean?
“Maundy” is a shortened form of mandatum (Latin), which means “to command” and this was the command that He gave them: as He ate with them and washed their feet:
“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”
Love one another.
And that’s it. That’s all. Jesus’ final instructions for His followers at the last supper were simply to love one another.
And if that one simple commandment to love one another was his final instruction to his followers before He finished his time here on earth, then aren’t those words still worth paying some serious attention to today? In fact, shouldn’t these final instructions be some of the most soul-shaping, and spiritually defining words for our whole lives?
I love this passage because these words are the simple reminder that I need, that as far as Jesus is concerned, how we love one another is the most important measurement we have for whether we’re really living a life that’s pleasing to God or not.
It’s not about works, or apologetics, or arguments, or how much you know, or even how good a person you are either. It’s simply about loving one another, just as He has loved us.
How beautiful, how freeing, and what wonderfully good news! And yet how often do we still tend to forget, or to make things more complicated?
So in revisiting this Easter story again in 2019, I think it’s a question worthy of some personal reflection.
Are we really following His final command to love one another, serve each other, and wash one another’s feet?
Because throughout the entirety of the Gospel, the Jesus that I read about just keeps on telling us the same story in lots of different ways; that the single greatest thing is love. Love bears all things. Believes all things. Hopes all things. Endures all things.
And if revisiting the Easter story could communicate just one thing I think it would be this.
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