7 Thoughts on Maundy Thursday

Today is the day known as Maundy Thursday during the Holy Week. This day represents the event surrounding the Last Supper. You will find that each Gospel writer is sure to include this important event in his document (see Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, John 13). For the purposes of this blog, I will examine the John 13 and Matthew 26 accounts (all taken from the ESV). 

7 Thoughts on Maundy Thursday

1. Love. John 13:1 “…having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” Today we need to recognize Jesus as the pinnacle of love. I believe as John writes this he is allowing the fullness of Jesus’ work on the cross to be included in this description of His love. It is this verse that projects the love of Jesus over all the events of Jesus’ arrest, trial, death, burial and resurrection. Thus the statement, “he loved them to the end.” This love is extended throughout history to all those who are “His own.” Celebrate His love today.  

2. Betrayal. John 13:2 “During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him…” A stark comparison to the glory of Jesus’ love is the darkness and betrayal of Judas’ heart. Judas becomes the agent through whom Jesus is found, arrested and tried. Today, we must face the many ways we betray Jesus. We must not allow our hearts to be hard or give a place for the devil to tempt us away from our loving Lord.  

3. Confidence.  John 13:3 “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God.” Jesus was full of confidence because He understood His identity and what He came to do. This confidence is seen throughout the events of Good Friday and Easter.  We too can be confident in our identity in Christ. Not arrogance, but confidence that we are born of God and going to God when we pass from this life.

4. Humility. John 13:5 “Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” Jesus, full of confidence, had no problem bowing in humility to wash the feet of the disciples. This was another display of His love for His disciples. Humble love always serves. Today we are reminded of Jesus’ example to serve, and we too should serve one another.  

5. Mandate. John 13:14 “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.” The word “Maundy” used on this day comes from the word mandatum in Latin, which means command. Jesus commands us to follow His example and wash the feet of one another. This should be our commitment today. Who will you serve?

6. Bread. Matthew 26:26 “Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Jesus uses the symbol of the breaking of bread to represent the breaking of His body coming in hours ahead. The command of Jesus here is to “take” and “eat.” The imagery is hard to miss. To ingest the bread is symbolic of our deep internal need for Jesus. His sacrifice on the cross, the breaking of His body, forever removed the penalty of sin from those who are saved.  I encourage you to celebrate the Lord’s Supper this week and remember the body of Jesus that bore the penalty we rightly deserved for our sin.

7. Wine. Matthew 26:27-28 “And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” The second part of the symbol Jesus used at the meal is the wine, representing His blood. He clearly states the meaning; His blood was the blood of the covenant for the forgiveness of sin. The cup of Communion reminds us that Jesus’ blood sealed a covenant; a promise that our sin would be forgiven and we would be made right with God. I love the hymn that asks the desperate question, “What can wash away my sin?” This faithful hymn gives the only right answer, “Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” As you take the cup this week be thankful for the cleansing power of Jesus’ blood.

I’m certain there are many more lessons to learn about Maundy Thursday, but these are some that might keep our attention on Jesus, who loved us to the end, this Holy Week.  I hope it makes sense.

Posted by Andy Savage at 10:24 AM
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