Updated: Apr 5
Today is Maundy Thursday
Maundy Thursday marks the beginning of the holiest days in the life of the church - the Triduum. The Triduum begins at sundown on Maundy Thursday and ends at sundown on Easter Sunday. During these last three days, we walk with Jesus to his death and then to his glorious resurrection.
Starting with Maundy Thursday, we remember Jesus’ words, “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”. Because of his great love for us, Jesus laid down his life so that we might live with him forever. Like the old gospel song says: “What a friend we have in Jesus!”
Beginning at sundown on Maundy Thursday, the church remembers how Jesus observed the Passover with his disciples. The Passover meal was pivotal in the lives of the Jewish people. It celebrated their deliverance from slavery in Egypt and how God acted mightily on their behalf. At the Passover, God established the Old Covenant with the Jewish people and promised to be their God.
After Jesus celebrated the Passover meal, he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the New Covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” In the midst of the celebration of the Old Covenant, Christ announces the beginning of the New Covenant which is sealed by his own blood. Through Christ’s death, ALL people who believe in him are made part of God’s family. Maundy Thursday is actually a solemn feast day because it celebrates the beginning of Holy Communion and the New Covenant.
We also remember how, after the institution of the New Covenant, Jesus washed his disciples' feet and told them to follow his example by serving others. Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this, all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” This new commandment is where Maundy Thursday gets its name. “Maundy” is from the Latin mandatum which means “commandment”.
Finally, on Maundy Thursday, we remember Jesus’ agony in the garden of Gethsemane, his betrayal by Judas, his desertion by the disciples, his trial, and how he was mocked and beaten.