Maundy Thursday is an often overlooked and misunderstood day in Holy Week. It is the day before Good Friday. The word maundy comes from the Latin mandatum from which we get the word mandate. This refers to the commandment that Jesus gave His Disciples in the Upper Room:
|“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 34:13, KJV|
The celebration of Maundy Thursday is not a festival directed in the Bible. Still, many Christians do celebrate it as a way of recognizing the many events that took place that evening and as a means of worship. Among the events that took place that night:
The Last Supper
In the Synoptic Gospels this was the Passover Meal. This was the third Passover that Jesus celebrated in Jerusalem with His Disciples. He knew it would be His last and was preparing them for what lay ahead. During the Passover Meal, Jesus established the sacrament of Holy Communion (also known as the Eucharist) by sharing the broken bread and wine. This sacrament is celebrated in most Maundy Thursday worship services.
Humility and Service
Jesus demonstrated the role His followers were to take when He washed the feet of His disciples. This was a task normally performed either by a slave or the person of lowest status in the household. By this act, Jesus demonstrated that we are to serve with complete humility.
During the Passover meal, Jesus foretold His betrayal by both Judas Iscariot and Peter. Even in this, He demonstrated His love. Judas had been placed in the “seat of honor” at the table. Peter was later forgiven after he repented.
Jesus’ Agony and Obedience
In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus demonstrated His agony when He sweated blood and asked “take from Me this cup.” Still, He prayed for Himself, His Disciples and for all who believe in Him. He also demonstrated His complete obedience to The Father while knowing what lay ahead. “Thy will be done.” Jesus was fully divine and fully human. He suffered physically as any human would suffer.
The events that took place on Maundy Thursday are extremely important to Christendom. But they are far from the end of the story, the journey. On Good Friday all sin was forgiven for those who follow Jesus Christ. With the resurrection on Easter Morning, death was overcome.
All glory to God the Father, to The Son and to the Holy Spirit.
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