Passages to Read
For a full account of the events of this day, see Matthew 26:17–75, Mark 14:12–72, Luke 22:7–71, and John 13:1–18:27.
Thursday of Holy Week is often given the name Maundy Thursday. The term Maundy comes from the Latin word maundatem which translates as commandment. The term refers to the commandment that Jesus gives at the Last Supper found in John 13:34, “A new commandment (mandatum novum) I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” Maundy Thursday is the “Thursday of the Commandment.”
This day is reflected even in culture today and commonly referred to as “the Last Supper.” From Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting from the 1400s to the discussion of betrayal by Judas being at the Last Supper, we can see both elements of celebration in the meal and the dark somber notes of the final meal for Jesus and His followers together. It is at this Passover supper that Jesus introduces the ordinance of communion to us. The breaking of the bread, representing His body, and the drinking of wine, representing His blood poured out for us. Jesus asks His followers to take communion in remembrance of Him, as Paul remembers this occasion in 1 Cor 11:23-26.
During this meal, Jesus takes on the role of a servant by washing their feet. The Son of the Most High God teaches us humility by subjecting Himself to the lowest possible position, choosing to serve rather than to be served. He does this even while He knows those who sit and eat among Him will betray (Judas) and deny Him (Peter). Jesus demonstrates His sovereignty and His supreme love by not rejecting these two who will desert Him in His time of greatest need. Jesus would go on to the Garden of Gethsemane that night to pray knowing what awaits Him in the hours to come.
Prayer and Reflection Point
Jesus provided several lessons on showing grace and how to serve those around us on this final evening with the disciples. Sharing a meal with others is a way to build community, trust, and form a bond together. Jesus shared His final meal with some who did just the
opposite. We have talked a lot about Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s coming denial of Jesus, but we also see trust broken when Jesus took Peter, James, and John with Him to the Garden to pray. Instead of being committed, they fell asleep! Jesus again responded with grace. Pause to think about how you treat those around you who are unkind, judge you, or you feel slight you? Do you show grace and reflect Christ? Ask God to give you discernment and His strength in showing love so that you might serve the way that He did.
Family Application and Map Check Point
From Luke 22:7-20 find the Upper Room on the map. Themes and values of this day to pass along to children are grace, service, and remembrance. One way to do this is to have a meal together as a family. Dividing up what meal to make, chores to do for today, or setting the table together can all resemble the Last Supper and offer teaching opportunities. While eating or sitting together today, share about what the bread and juice represented at the last meal. Or discuss how we have all sinned except Jesus. Ask: If Jesus never sinned, then why did He take the blame for our sins?
Holy Week Timeline
• Jesus celebrated Passover with His disciples (Luke 22:7-16).
• Jesus washed His disciples’ feet (John 13:1-20).
• Jesus foretold His betrayal (Matthew 26:20-25).
• Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:14-23).
• Jesus gave His disciples the new commandment of love (John 13:31-35).
• Jesus predicted Peter’s denials (John 13:36-38).
• Jesus promised the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-31).
• Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane at the Mount of Olives (Matthew 26:36-46; Luke 22:39-46; John 17:1-26).