Today is Maundy Thursday.
This is the day that Jesus & His disciples made preparations for the Passover meal, the Seder that became known as the “Last Supper.”
• At this meal Jesus laid aside His robes (the early fathers went crazy waxing on about the symbolism of this – I think they were right btw) took a towel & a basin & washed the feet of those at the supper like a common house servant.
• During the supper (at the 3rd cup of the meal – the cup of redemption) Jesus instituted what we call the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, and communion.
• He shared the heartbreaking news that one of them would betray Him and that all of them would desert Him.
• He taught what is known as the “Upper Room Discourse” – some precious teaching that only John shares with us (John 13-16).
• This was the night of arrest & the beginning of the trials (although we think more about all of that tomorrow).
But where Maundy Thursday gets the name is from John 13:34. In the Latin translation of the original Greek (that was the people’s translation of the western part of the early Church called the Vulgate translated by the great scholar, pastor Jerome) it says:
mandatum novum do vobis ut…
“A new commandment I give to you that you love one another as I have loved you.” Those of you that speak Spanish will recognize the 1st word – “mandamiento” is commandment. When, you aren’t sure you hear someone correctly, you say “Mande?” (Lit. “command me”). The command of Jesus is that we love. Paul says love actually fulfills the Law.
Tomorrow night we are going to take communion at the Good Friday Services. But maybe tonight if you are with some friends or your family, you can get a hold of some red wine, or grape juice and some matza (any break really, but it’s good to go old school if possible) & remember the day. There’s a sense in which Jesus was enjoying one last happy moment before the darkness would engulf them & he would suffer & be afflicted.