As we continue our journey to Resurrection Sunday, we find ourselves in the middle of “Maundy Thursday” of “Holy Week.” It is a remembrance of when Jesus Christ shared a final meal with His disciples before His crucifixion.
The word “maundy” is derived from the Latin word for “command.” John’s gospel gives some details that the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) do not have about this moment. One was the picture of Jesus washing His disciple’s feet as a sign of what every follower of Jesus should do (serve).
I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have love you, you are also to love one another. (John 13:34 CSB)
This is the command that is referred to with the name “Maundy Thursday.” It was thought that Jesus gave this command on the day/night before He was arrested.
The big thing that is associated with this day is the institution of the Lord’s Supper. It was on the night before Jesus was betrayed by one of His closest followers that Jesus celebrated a final meal with His disciples. It was at this meal that Jesus set a mark that would be carried out by the Church ever since.
It is interesting to me that for His final message before betrayal, Jesus chose to use the classroom of a table. He didn’t go to the Temple or a synagogue. He simply gathered those who would be responsible for carrying on His mission, and He got them around a table to share a meal. The table is a place where your guard is down. The table is a place where you share and talk about what’s at the depth of your heart as you fill your stomach with that which is provided by God.
On that night, Jesus used a very common scene (dinner around a table) and a common meal at that time, and He made the ordinary extraordinary. He would take a common piece of bread and break it before His disciples to show what was about to happen to Him. He wasn’t looking forward to it, but He didn’t want His followers to be scratching their heads when God’s plan unfolded. He would take a cup of wine and use it an illustration for the blood that He was about to shed for the forgiveness of sins. One of the greatest teaching moments ever was done around a dinner table with friends.
What does our dinner tables look like? Are they just a place that we run to in order to fill our stomachs? Do we take the opportunities that are right in front of us to gather around a table and share moments, dreams, heartaches, and more? Jesus did, and I’ve always thought that He was a pretty good example to follow. Remember, the command that He gave that day was to love one another as we were loved by Him (John 13:34). Take time to make the moments around a table with family and/or friends one that will be remembered for much more than the food that goes into our bellies.