So, when he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. 32 If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him immediately. 33 Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you. 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
The Thursday before Easter is known as “Maundy Thursday,” which is a term that is derived from the Latin word for “command.” This is a reference to Jesus’ commandment to the disciples to “Love one another as I have loved you.” Maundy Thursday also commemorates the Last Supper, wherein Jesus instituted the sacrament of communion. This day is also associated with foot-washing, because Jesus washed the feet of His disciples and at this last meal Jesus foretells His death, saying He will not eat until the kingdom of God is fulfilled.
Jesus is about to be physically separated from His disciples and He wants them to remember that they are still in covenant with Him and with one another. The communion meal signified what was true regardless of their physical proximity. The disciples were to continually commune with Christ and with one another, even if physically separated. The command to eat, to remember, and to love, along with the instruction to serve (foot washing), were all part of what it meant to be united to Christ. This common union was to be regularly commemorated with bread and wine, and it was to be lived out on a daily basis through love and service to one another.
In the year of our Lord, 2020, the church has been presented with challenging circumstances which have, in many cases, separated us physically. There are other circumstances in life that can cause separation, such as sickness, persecution, war, death, etc. While we desire to be present with one another, sometime we can’t be. We desire to be present with the Lord, but until He calls us we can’t be. Nevertheless, Jesus said “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” We remain united to Him—in communion; and we remain united to one another as the Body of Christ. We’re temporarily unable to enjoy a common meal together, but nothing can stop us from loving one another and serving one another. Moreover, we’re united as the Body of Christ to represent Him to the world; to show them our love for Christ by our love for one another, and by our love for our neighbors.
Right now we’re fasting from our communion meal, as a husband and wife may be forced to fast from physical communion due to sickness or travel. However, the substantial communion abides and continues until we meet again.