The term Maundy Thursday is derived from the Latin “Dies Mandatum” which means the mandate. This day is also known as “The day of the new commandment.” These day is a day to remember the words of Jesus, "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. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”" (John 13:34-35, ESV)
This is a commandment Christ gave to His Disciples on the eve of His death. Traditionally, the Church observes this evening with a ceremonial foot washing service and concludes with a time of communion with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (John 13). Tonight we will look at the three key observances of Maundy Thursday that are intended to prepare us for the remembrance of Christ’s death and celebration of his resurrection for our justification.
Three Key Observances For Maundy Thursday: (Matthew 26 & John 13 – 17)
- The Lord’s supper (Matt. 26:26-30, Luke 22:14-20): Fellowship and Communion – Fellowship with Christ and disciples (followers) and the disciples with one another. Communion with God - The bread represents the body of Christ; it signifies the death Christ died for humanity that all who believe will be saved. The cup represents the blood of the New Covenant (the new agreement God made with humanity based on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Jer. 31:31 – 34). The new covenant accomplished what the old could not: removal of sin and cleansing of the conscience
- Washing the feet of the disciples (John 13:1-17): Servanthood- Jesus said that what he is doing is an example of what the disciples should do for one another. He then talks about serving one another. (Serving is slowly becoming a lost art of worship)
- Prayer (John 17:6-26)): Unity
- Jesus prays for Himself (1-5) May God be glorified through his death.
- Jesus prays for disciples (6-19) Protection and unity among the disciples
- Jesus prays for us (20-26) Unity in the body of Christ. He prays for those who will come (us) that we may have unity and not discord.
We can learn a lot about living the “Spirit-filled” life of a Christian not only by observing these practices, but by doing them as well. May this Maundy Thursday be a challenging night for you? Understand that Christ led by example to show us how we should live and how we can know Him more intimately if we would only do as He has commanded.
Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., Harrison, R. K., & Thomas Nelson Publishers. (1995). Nelson's new illustrated Bible dictionary. Rev. ed. of: Nelson's illustrated Bible dictionary.; Includes index. Nashville: T. Nelson.