I will never forget the first time I heard about a Maundy Thursday service. I was in my late 20s and although I had grown up in church and even in the denomination observing this special time, it was pretty much all new to me. I wondered about the meaning of this word “Maundy” which I couldn’t find in my Webster’s dictionary. Was I the only one that had never heard of this?
Maundy Thursday is the Thursday of Passion Week, one day before Good Friday (the Thursday before Easter). Maundy Thursday is the name given to the day on which Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples, known to us as the Last Supper. Two important events are the focus of Maundy Thursday.
First, Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples and thereby instituted the Lord’s Supper, also called Communion (Luke 22:19-20). Some Christian churches observe a special Communion service on Maundy Thursday in memory of Jesus’ Last Supper with His disciples. Second, Jesus washed the disciples’ feet as an act of humility and service, thereby setting an example that we should love and serve one another in humility (John 13:3-17). Some Christian churches observe a foot-washing ceremony on Maundy Thursday to commemorate Jesus’ washing the feet of the disciples.
The word “Maundy” is derived from the Latin word for “command.” The “Maundy” in Maundy Thursday refers to the command Jesus gave to the disciples at the Last Supper, that they should love and serve one another. John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
From what I have read, I don’t think the Bible commands or forbids the observation of this particular day but I believe the events are to be remembered. It is a good thing to remember the Last Supper and Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. It is a good thing to remember His beautiful example of humility. Not in such a way that is only a ritual or legal observance though, as a personal and corporate remembrance. Some may do that today and some may do that on other days. As in footwashing…some may observe it literally and some may observe and remember what it represents in other ways. Maybe different days, maybe different ways. We should probably remember every day.
Remember! There is that word again. (earlier this year…first step to revival– REMEMBER…hmmmm). I want to remember and I believe God wants me to remember His Son and these things. I believe this even more so because of Jesus’ own words immediately following some of the events and actions of that Thursday in His life. In John 13:17 Jesus said….”If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” Now I know.
Have a blessed Maundy Thursday!