This week is Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter and the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. There are several important days this week, and one of those is Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday.
What is Maundy Thursday?
What is Maundy Thursday? Maundy Thursday (pronounced like “mohn-di,” rhymes with “blondie”) is the day that commemorates Christ’s last meal (or Last Supper) with his disciples. It was on this Thursday that He and the twelve disciples observed the traditional Jewish Passover meal together.
Holy Thursday: Feet Washing
There are several ways that Christians take part in celebrating this Holy Thursday. Feet washing is observed by many, because it was on this day that Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. He got up from the meal to serve the disciples in this way.
So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him. (John 13:4-5)
Maundy Thursday Meaning
Maundy Thursday is recognized as a holy day of Christianity. Maundy Thursday, meaning Commandment Thursday, gets its name from the Latin word mandatum (or mandate, translated as commandment), which is the first word in the Latin translation of Christ’s words in John 13:34. This is the day that Jesus gave his followers a new commandment–a new mandate to love.
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. (John 13:34-35)
If you take a look at John 13, you can read about the first Maundy Thursday in detail. After the feet washing, Jesus announced that He was going to be betrayed by one of the disciples. Judas then leaves the group to go do just that, and after he is gone, Jesus gives the remaining disciples some final instructions, including this new commandment: to love each other. He explains that their love for each other is how other people will know that they are followers of Christ.
Discover 25 ways for children and adults to celebrate Maundy Thursday HERE with these suggested acts of service.
People often celebrate Maundy Thursday not only by feet washing services, but often other acts of kindness that involve more physical care and outward displays of love at work. Helping a widow with yard maintenance, cleaning an invalid’s home, or painting and upkeep at your local church are just a few ways that you can demonstrate love in action on Maundy Thursday. Service done without a thought of being repaid reminds us of the Savior’s sacrifice for us.
Learn more about the special days of the Holy Week of Easter in this post about Good Friday.