This year during the week leading up to Easter, often deemed "Holy Week", we are adding a Maundy Thursday service to celebrate the Lord's Supper together. But given this is a relatively new service for our body here, it seemed helpful to explain in this article the reason for the addition to the service schedule. As for generations Good Friday has been the only day, other than Easter, we have celebrated in the CRC.
But Maundy Thursday actually has its own significance prior to the cross that is good for us to celebrate separately for two primary reasons. First, because this is how it happened in the Bible. Jesus gave the supper to his disciples on Thursday. Which leads to the second point, that the cross is a Friday event. It is the death event. A completion of what is shown first with celebration, and commemoration with Jesus followers prior to his death. So that they saw him dying they would understand the reason why, and so would we.
Thus we look forward to celebrating both events on their respective days this year. A little additional background on this day. Maundy comes from the Latin meaning command. It is ascribed to this Thursday in the year because as Jesus was handing out the bread and the wine to his disciples he says, "a new command, I give to you love one another as I have loved you." A love that is willing to sacrifice oneself for another. This is what Jesus has done for all who believe in him.
Throughout his life, Jesus showed that he was the suffering servant. The one who was willing to bear all the guilt and pain of sin for all the elect that we would be brought in. This is the life he lived right through his final night before the cross, even stooping down to wash his disciple's feet as they argued who was the greatest among them.
No, we aren't planning a foot washing ceremony during our service. Not that it couldn't be done, but it is not a necessity, it is not a sacrament, as the Supper has been given to us to be. The foot washing points to the servant nature of the command to love one another. Love one another enough to serve them, even down to the grimy jobs of the era that we live in.
Servanthood and sacrifice is what Jesus wanted his disciples to see and understand. And that is also what we have to see and understand as we come to the Lord's supper onevery occasion, but especially on Maundy Thursday. Jesus came as God's willing servant to die on the cross. But before he died, he gave this supper. His supper. That we would do it in remembrance of Him.
So come on Maundy Thursday and taste the Lord's Supper of sacrifice again. And return on Good Friday to remember and celebrate the cross. It's good for us all to take a bit more time and remember that in the breaking of bread and the giving of the wine, Jesus already knew what was going to occur, and on Friday, he brought it to fulfillment for you and for me. Jesus the servant of all, took the time, you and I should take the time too!