Thursday, April 5, 2012

Checking out Maundy Thursday

I'm not sure I ever knew this but the word maundy is from the Latin word mandatum which means "commandment." Maundy Thursday is commemorating the day of Passion Week (Thursday) when Jesus met with His disciples and celebrated the Passover meal with them; what we call "the Last Supper." The reason for maundy is, therefore, in recognition of the instructions, or commands, Jesus gave His disciples during the time they spent together in the Upper Room. The synoptic gospels record the event in the chapters that follow: Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22. John's gospel account covers 5 chapters, 13-17. It starts with Jesus washing the feet of His disciples and ends with the High Priestly Prayer. In both, Jesus modeled how to have the heart of a servant. He said, "I washed your feet. Now you follow my example." (my wording, John 13:13-14) Later in John's recorded account, Jesus said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35, NASB) Again, He didn't just teach what to do, He lived it: even as I have loved you...

In John 14, Jesus said that if we (spoken directly to His disciples then and meant also for His followers of all time) really love Him then we will keep His commandments. But, we don't have to do it in our own strength or ability (hallelujah!) but we have the Holy Spirit as our Helper. In chapter 15, Jesus talked about abiding in Him and bearing fruit. One reflects the other. If we are staying close to Jesus, then we ought to be living in such a way as to bring glory to Him. The focus is on Him and not on ourselves. Not on temporal but eternal. Not on the world but on the spiritual.

Jesus began the High Priestly Prayer, as recorded in John 17, by saying, "Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You." (verse 1, NASB) The dark part of the Passion story follows. The arrest, the trials, the beatings, the crucifixion. But, today is Maundy Thursday. We celebrate what Jesus did on that Thursday every time we participate in the Lord's Supper. He instituted it on that day.

So, if it's appropriate, happy Maundy Thursday to you! Tomorrow's Friday but Sunday's coming!

Serving the King,


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