Hello and welcome to another extra post this week!
I’ve realised that if I were to only post tomorrow, about Good Friday, I’d really be neglecting the significance of Maundy Thursday (which is today). Maundy Thursday is, arguably, equally important as Good Friday, as this was the last “ordinary” (I guess!) day that Jesus had on Earth (although to be fair, this is Jesus we’re talking about here, who was hardly ordinary, was he?!). So, here’s an extra, extra post for this week (I think you’ll have at least 4 posts from me by the end of Sunday!)
The story of exactly what happened on Maundy Thursday is very well-documented in the Bible, thanks to John. John was one of the authors of the four Gospel books in the Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), which are the first 4 books of the New Testament (anything in the Bible which happened after Jesus was born) and was also one of Jesus’ apostles. Fun fact: this amazing guy is also believed to have written Revelation and other books in the Old Testament, too!
Anyways, John’s and all of the Gospel writer’s written records of what happened on Maundy Thursday (or The Last Supper) are extremely significant, as not only do they document The Last Supper, but the texts from this section are used every Sunday by churches throughout the world, during the Communion service, where bread and wine are blessed and given to believers, just as Jesus did with his disciples at The Last Supper. For example, Matthew’s documentation of Jesus doing this consecration of bread and wine are as follows, the exact words used in Communion services:
The Lord’s Supper
26 While they were eating, Jesus took a piece of bread, gave a prayer of thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples. “Take and eat it,” he said; “this is my body.”
27 Then he took a cup, gave thanks to God, and gave it to them. “Drink it, all of you,” he said; 28 “this is my blood, which seals God’s covenant, my blood poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will never again drink this wine until the day I drink the new wine with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”
30 Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.
Just for a bit of context, the Mount of Olives is a mountain in the Holy Land, near where the Garden of Gethsemane is located (more about this in my post on Good Friday tomorrow!). It is of high significance to both Christians and Jews.
Also, when Jesus says in verse 29, “I will never again drink this wine until the day I drink the new wine with you in my Father’s Kingdom”, this refers to the fact that Jesus, after dying and then rising, spending a little time on Earth afterwards, will then ascend to join His Father in Heaven (i.e. God). The New Wine refers to the state of newness that the world will have been in after Jesus’ death, which has saved the whole of humanity from the consequences of sin (again, more about this tomorrow).
The text used from John, about the washing of feet, 13:12-16 ad is as follows:
12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, 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 also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.
Although somebody else washing your feet these days may seem a little gross, this was (and still is in some cases) a highly symbolic action taken by Christians in Bible times, to other Christians, as a symbol of showing humility and God’s love. This is because we, as Christians, are called by God to be equal to each other and to therefore serve each other with humility and love. This is why Jesus says in verse “you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” This is further reinforced at the end of this passage, when Jesus says in verse 16, “Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” This shows that we’re all equal in the eyes of God, who is the ultimate judge of our lives, and therefore he loves each and every one of us equally and unconditionally, regardless of whether or not we’re Christians, or how much we mess up in life.
Just to finish off, there’s a really lovely hymn which we sing at Church every year during Holy Week, and again, it is very moving and reflective, and tells the story of Jesus’ time with His disciples before dying. It’s called An Upper Room and you can find the lyrics to it here and a YouTube link to it here.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this rather spontaneous extra post for Maundy Thursday! I just wanted to stress the significance of this special day in Holy Week (this week) and the context in which the Last Supper happened.
If you have any questions about Holy Week, Communion, or any other things mentioned in this blog post, feel free to leave me a comment – I’ll be happy to answer them!
See you tomorrow!