Week 16: Day 5 - Thursday (April 18, 2019) Maundy Thursday
"Jesus' Last Passover Observance and the New Mandate"
READ Mark 14:12-15 or Luke 22: 7-38 or John 13:1-17 "THE LAST SUPPER"
On Thursday of the last week Jesus spent on Earth, He observed the Jewish traditional festival of the Passover. Jesus was standing in a tradition already 1500 years since the time God instituted the Passover festival. It was for the Jews to remember and celebrate when God passed over Jewish homes in Egypt marked with blood of the unblemished sacrificial lamb and delivered all Jewish first born but struck down all Egyptian first born.
Something new happened at this last Passover observance. This time Jesus had the Passover meal prepared for his disciples. He blessed the meal and gave it to His disciples to share among themselves. Although Jesus earnestly desired to eat the Passover meal with His disciples, He did not eat and drink this last meal with them. He prophesied that He would not to eat and drink at Passover again until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God. In doing so Jesus was not ignoring the Jewish tradition of observing the Passover nor was He abolishing it. Instead, Jesus was putting Himself fully into the Passover in a way that represents who He is for the whole people of God. He is the sacrificial lamb of God. He is the first born Son. His body is the true bread of life. His blood is the ultimate sacrifice for the remission of sin. He cannot eat His own flesh and drink His own blood. The meal is for His disciples then and now to receive His life into themselves. In short, Jesus extended the celebration of the Passover to an institution and introduction of remembering His self-giving sacrifice on the cross for the salvation of the world in the celebration of Holy Communion.
When by faith we partake in the holy meal, we celebrate and give thanks for Jesus' substitutionary and sacrificial death on the cross for us and His giving of eternal life to us. That last supper was a turning point and the institution of the Eucharist or Holy Communion was a new beginning for the people of Christ. The maundy (Latin for mandate) is to observe Holy Communion in remembrance of his sacrificial death until His coming again.
Another new thing happened on Holy Thursday. Jesus gave a new commandment in two respects. First He demonstrated genuine humility by stooping down and washing the feet of His disciples as example for all disciples. Jesus confirmed His undying love for His disciples and sealed their relationship with Him in the washing of their feet. "Unless I wash you, you have no share with me" (John 13:8). Second, Jesus commands His disciples to love on a new level, a deeper level. The commandment to love your neighbor as you love yourself is not new. What became new on Maundy Thursday is the command to love one another as Jesus loves His disciples. Jesus loves to the extend of laying down His life for His friends. He loved them to the end (John 13:1).
SUGGESTION FOR MEDITATION
What would it take for you to share with Jesus and fellow disciples when Jesus resumes eating and drinking in the Kingdom? How would authentic humility empower your life and enable you to enhance the lives of others? Who do you need to forgive and or strive hard to love as Jesus loves?
Offer your prayer to God.