What Exactly is Maundy Thursday?
By Liz Shrieve
Easter is a day for wearing your matching pastels, hiding Easter eggs for the kids, and, of course, attending church. But did you know that Easter is more than one day? Easter is the accumulation of events that led up to the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many of us know about Palm Sunday and Good Friday, but what exactly is Maundy Thursday?
Maundy Thursday, which is the Thursday before Easter, is when Jesus gathered with His disciples in the Upper Room for the Last Supper. Maundy means mandate or commandment in Latin. On this day, Jesus, prior to His arrest, gave His disciples mandates that would be followed by Christians throughout history. Jesus also gave a new commandment to love one another: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34)
In today’s society, love sometimes has a loose and insignificant meaning: We love food, our dogs, our clothes. When Jesus loved, He loved the worst sinner still in his sin and loved the nobody until the day of his death. This is an unbiased, wholehearted, complete and pure love, and Jesus called His disciples (yes, that means us, too!) to love like that.
Prior to Jesus giving the new commandment, Jesus used his robe and towel and a basin of water to wash His disciples’ feet. Foot washing was a task that normally only the servants would do for house guests who would have walked for miles on sandy, harsh roads with little footwear. By doing this, Christ modeled the heart of a humble servant and expressed how we, too, should serve those around us.
Following the foot washing, Jesus and the disciples broke bread and drank wine. Jesus spoke saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19) This foreshadowed Jesus’ blood that would later be shed for each of us on the cross. We now practice this remembrance through communion.
On Maundy Thursday, Jesus raised the definition of love to a higher standard and lowered the means of servanthood to that of the least. We, too, can daily honor Jesus Christ by doing what He modeled for us.
Liz Shrieve is a full-time Moody Bible Institute student and LCC staff member. In her free time, you will often catch her at a coffee shop, soaking up sunshine rays on the river, traveling, or finding something to laugh about.