Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday:

The Last Supper and Jesus’ arrest

What is Maundy Thursday?

  • The beginning of the three-day celebration of Jesus death and resurrection.

When is Maundy Thursday?

  • The Thursday evening before Easter Sunday.

What does the word ‘Maundy’ mean?

  • Maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum, which means commandment.
  • On this night Jesus gave his disciples “a new commandment” to love one another.

What happened this night?

  • Jesus washed the feet of his disciples to illustrate his command for them to love one another.
  • At supper, Jesus instituted the practice of Holy Communion.  He took bread, broke it, and give it to his disciples saying “this is my body.”  He also took the wine, had them share it, saying “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.”
  • After supper Jesus went with his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane.
  • There Jesus prayed.
  • And there the soldiers came, led by Judas, to arrest him.
  • Jesus was taken to the home of the High Priest for a secret nighttime “interrogation”.  This was not a “trial,” but a decision how to punish him.

What does the church do this night?

  • The evening begins with a confession and forgiveness.
  • We gather the special Lenten offerings that people have set aside for those in need.
  • We read the story of the Passover meal Israel ate on the night God led them out of Egypt.
  • We read about Jesus’ last meal with his disciples when he washed their feet and commanded them to love one another.
  • The pastor gives a “visible sermon” on that reading by taking off his robe and washing the feet of those who desire it.
  • We celebrate Holy Communion.
  • After the communion, the altar is stripped to remind us that Jesus was arrested and stripped of all honor.
  • The community departs for the evening.  There is no benediction or “closing” of the service, since it will continue on Friday.