top of page

Maundy Thursday - 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-17, 31b-35

Maybe Maundy Thursday is explained by April Fools Day.

Jesus must be joking, pulling his disciples' legs by washing their feet.

This must be his idea of a gag: the messiah as a lowly slave, the king playing the court jester, the great teacher pranking his students.

Maybe some of them were giggling, especially when the water tickled their toes.

Peter, however, was not amused.

He was offended for his friend, horrified at the indignity with which Jesus was debasing himself, because being God's messiah is no joke.

He puts his dry foot down to end the silliness.

You will never wash my feet.

That's when it became clear that Jesus was being dead serious.

Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.

Like so many other things Jesus said and did, this made absolutely no sense, but he meant it.

Sometimes acting like a fool isn't funny at all.

With the benefit of time and distance, Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth who wouldn't be caught dead washing anyone's feet.

They were too busy climbing the social ladder and competing for status, comparing their Insta accounts and yard landscaping against their neighbors, jockeying for power and position.

They were far too cultured, urbane, sophisticated and proud to work at the gas station, yet they claim to worship Christ, who washed his disciples' feet and then died on a cross.

Pastor Paul tries to bridge the vast disconnect.

In the first chapter of his long letter—responding already to reports of divisive squabbles

between competing factions—he admits and then rhapsodizes the foolishness of God:

The message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart."...

Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?...

Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a