What Is Maundy Thursday?

By Matthew Fretwell

Leading up to Easter Sunday, this is the day that Jesus sat with His disciples in the upper room and gave them the command to love one another in humility. He did this by illustration in washing their feet. This was the day of preparation.

Sometimes this day is called Holy Thursday, Great Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Sheer Thursday, or even Thursday of Mysteries. The early church set aside this day of observance to reflect upon the humility of Christ, in the unconditional sacrificial offering of Himself upon the Cross.

Why is this important and what exactly does “Maundy” mean?

The word Maundy is derived from the Latin word mandatum, which means commandment. During the night in which He was betrayed, Jesus commanded His disciples to love one another, to serve one another, to remember to break bread with one another—sharing in His life, love, and witness. This wasn’t just an ordinary meal, it was most likely the Passover Seder meal; a time to reflect on the great and holy hand of God, which passed over the Israelites and struck down their captors in Egypt.; a time to recall the steadfast love and mercy of a God who led them from bondage, into the promised land. So, it was during this meal that Jesus was introducing Himself as the Paschal Lamb of God and the Savior who would lead His people from the bondage of sin, into eternal life.

Christ, the Lamb of God, fulfilling the requirements of God handed down by Moses in Exodus 12. He was a male without blemish (i.e. perfect; 12:5), brought before the whole congregation (12:6), the blood splattered on the doorposts and lintel (the significance of the Cross; 12:7), roasted with fire (our God is a consuming fire), with unleavened bread (no sin) and bitter herbs (the scorn he endured; 12:8), none of it shall remain in the morning (empty tomb; 12:11), and the blood of the lamb “shall be a sign for you…when I see the blood, I will pass over you and no plague shall befall you to destroy you” (12:13).

So, today, reflect upon the goodness and grace of God, through Jesus Christ, who sacrificed His life, so that you could have forgiveness and rest. Think about what this means, how much He loves you, and the sacrifice made. I pray that you congregate with other believers this evening, as Christ’s disciples with humility and love.

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