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  • Writer's pictureAlan and Jean McKinnell

Maundy Thursday.

Today is Maundy Thursday, not a day I had ever heard of until, after being a Christian for a number of years, we came into contact with Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter Sunday, or resurection Sunday. Strangely enough I first remember becoming aware of Holy Week when we went back to Scotland to live and were part of the local Church of Scotland congregation. I say strangely, because Holy Week with Maundy Thursday and Good Friday is a very Catholic thing, and not something our church had previously recognised, how do I reckon on that? Well Jean and I were married on Good Friday and the minister never batted an eyelid or even raised any concerns that we would be getting married on Good Friday, the only thing he did say was that if we were having Catholics at the wedding we would need to have fish on the menu!

But nowadays we are fully into Holy Week and the recognition of the greatest week in the history of the whole world, when the jubilation of Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem and the hailing and praising of Him on the Sunday, quickly turned to the depth of despair when the same crowd cried 'crucify Him' on the Friday and they duly did, how fickle mankind is when you don't do things their way, and the Messiah dying on a cross was certainly not man's way, but it was God's way.

To get back to Maundy Thursday, the night before Jesus was crucified, we recognise Maundy Thursday as the night Jesus washed His disciples feet and told them to do likewise, the likewise not necessarily being washing each others feet, but serving one another.

John 13:12-17 12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

Maundy comes from the Latin mandatum meaning commandment and refers to Jesus words in John 13,

John 13:31-35 New King James Version

The New Commandment

31 So, when he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. 32 If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him immediately. 33 Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you. 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

It is also on this day that Jesus inititiates what we now call the Lord's Supper, or Holy Communion or Holy Eucharist and when Jesus calls on us to take this Communion of bread and wine in 'remembrance of Me'.

Luke 22:14-23 New King James Version

Jesus Institutes the Lord’s Supper

14 When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. 15 Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.

So Maundy Thursday is in fact a really important day to remember as Jesus gives His final instructions to His disciples before His coming death on Good Friday, instructions that we as Christians are called to carry out today, Love One Another and partake in the bread and wine in Holy Communion in remembrance of Jesus and the sacrifice He made on the cross at calvary.

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