Blessed Maundy Thursday Church Family!
Today is one of the most significant days of Holy Week. In protestant environments, it is commonly called Maundy Thursday. It is also referred to as:
• Covenant Thursday – During the Lord’s Supper, Jesus shared this with His disciples: “A new command I give you; Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
•Sheer Thursday – representing “blameless” or “clean.” It represents the purification of the soul by confession in preparation for Good Friday.
•and Thursday of Mysteries by the Catholic Church, among others.
There are significant events that occurred on this day: the washing of the disciples’ feet, the Last Supper (the Lord’s Supper), Jesus’ betrayal by Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane and His arrest by the Sanhedrin.
We call the Thursday before Good Friday “Maundy Thursday” because of its connection to the commandment Jesus gave His disciples at the Last Supper when He washed their feet, the command listed above. “Maundy” comes from the Latin word “Mandatum” and is translated as “commandment.”
Each of the four gospels record the events of Maundy Thursday. They include the prediction of Peter’s denial, the Lord’s Supper, Christ’s agonizing prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane and His arrest. John also records Jesus’ final teachings to the disciples.
John records that Jesus: “Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.” (John 13:1) This would certainly have been a statement identifying the men gathered around the Passover meal with Him! He would have loved them deeply!
Christ then proceeds to wash their feet, the Master washing the feet of His followers! He shares this great truth: “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you should also wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” What a great example of humility and servanthood!
Jesus then shares the Last Supper with His disciples, but His love for these men seems to compel Him to want to take advantage of every moment He has available to provide instruction and encouragement.
He reminds them He is preparing a place for them so that where He is, they may be also. He tells them they have seen the Father in Him and He provides this encouragement: “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father maybe glorified in the Son.” (John 14:12-13)
He promises them the Holy Spirit: “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of Truth.”
He teaches them about the vine and the branches: “I am the vine and you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing….This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
He warned them about the world’s response to the gospel. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.”
He provides encouragement that His disciples will receive guidance from the Holy Spirit: “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth.”
He teaches about using His name in prayer. “Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask IN MY NAME. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”
All of that teaching occurred on Thursday night while Jesus was with his disciples. It provides us with a glimpse of just how much He loved them. He took every opportunity, every moment He was with them to instruct and encourage them. Any other “man” would have been inwardly focused – not Jesus! He spent the last hours before his betrayal and arrest pouring love and truth into His disciples.
His love for the disciples and US is evidenced in His last actions before leaving for the Garden of Gethsemane. He spent time praying specifically for His disciples (John 17:6-19) and for future believers – YOU AND ME! (17:20-25) “My prayer is not for them alone, I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in me and I am in You. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that You have sent me. I have given them the glory that You gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and You in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity.”
As I reflect on Maundy Thursday, I am reminded that I have the opportunity to be obedient to the new commandment Christ gave His disciples on the night he was arrested: to serve each other; to serve for the purpose of bringing Him glory; to keep His commandments; to allow His Spirit of truth to guide me; to spend my life bearing fruit for His kingdom; to realize the world will not understand the things of Christ; and to know that God will give us what we need to fulfill His plan for our lives if we ask in Christ’s name and finally, above all to PRAY – pray for those in our lives today and pray for those in the future who will continue to share the gospel with a lost world!
What an amazing way to spend your last day before being betrayed!
Have a blessed day!