Do You Know What I Have Done to You?

At the heart of Maundy Thursday, is Jesus’ commandment, “That you love one another, just as I have loved you.” I have written about that before. As I think about this holy day today though, I am struck by the question Jesus asks right after washing his disciples’ feet.

Jesus asks, “Do you know what I have done to you?”

No answer is given.

It’s a profound question. Do the disciples know? We can’t say for sure, but in my reading of the gospels, I would venture a guess as no, at least not until being able to put the pieces together after the resurrection.

Then again, do we know? Even though we know the rest of the story, do we really know?

Jesus washing another's feet
Jesus washing another’s feet

As time goes on and I grow older, I think I actually know less and less each day. Maybe that is a part of life?

Why I am struck by this question today is that on this solemn and holy day, we are reminded that Jesus gets on his knees to serve. He washes the disciples’ feet, and tells us to do likewise. He doesn’t give us a perfect plan of do: A, B, C, and D… and the rest will be easy. No, rather, he gives us the example of a servant, as he humbles himself to serve us.

It takes a humble heart to serve.

It takes an equally humble heart to receive the one serving. We don’t do well with this, at least from my purview. Maybe it’s a human thing? Maybe it’s a cultural thing in the United States? We like to be in control, and not have to be helped by others. But you know, some times we need to remember that we can’t do it all alone.

With the foot washing we are reminded that some things need to do be done to us, that we ourselves cannot do for ourselves. As Jesus says, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” This could make for an interesting connection between the sacraments of baptism and communion if you want to go there.

“Do you know what I have done to you?”

As I sit with this question, as I think about the last supper, the sacrament of communion, the sacrament of baptism… these are gifts of God “for you.” These aren’t things we do for ourselves. We cannot do anything about them, but receive them humbly in community. The question then becomes, how do we respond to this?

How do we “love one another?” How do we hear and respond when Jesus says, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The way we live, serve, and love matters. The way we are in community and relationship matters. These are signs of being disciples. These are signs of the in-breaking of the kingdom of God. This is not always easy.

How do we love people with whom we don’t agree? How do we love people who also claim to hold the same faith we do, but radically disagree on what constitutes a faithful response to the gifts of faith?

“Do you know what I have done to you?”

I don’t think we’ll ever fully understand just how rich and all encompassing this love of God in Christ is. But maybe a start is to simply listen when we hear the words “for you.” Maybe a start is to listen to each and everyone person we meet. Maybe a start, is to get on our knees and wash each other’s feet?

Jesus did it. And then he says, “For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.”

I am not sure I have an answer to Jesus’ question today. But the question is enough to compel me to keep on learning, living, and being in relationship. It’s enough to remind me to not get so ingrained in my own beliefs and perspectives that I place them at odds with or over another’s. Maybe this is a useful reminder for what it really means to be the Body of Christ? Maybe even for what it means to be a part of society and strive to serve the common good?

“Do you know what I have done to you?”

What do you think? What does your response to this question look and sound like?

Image Credit: Jesus washing feet

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