Maundy Thursday Service

Maundy Thursday“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34 (NIV).

The day before Good Friday is called “Maundy  Thursday,” or “Holy Thursday.” It comes from the Latin mandatum, meaning commandment.

It was the day, which Jesus celebrated His last Passover with His Disciples before the Cross and what will become our celebration or the ordinance of Communion. This is also known as the Last Supper. What is often missed, is in this day in which over the centuries the Church has given such credence too, are three commands. One of example to serve, as Jesus in humility and service washed His Disciples’ feet. Then the command of communion, where Jesus calls us to remember that we are a part of a new covenant paid by His life, death and resurrection that depicts our allegiance and faith. This is about our fellowship and togetherness, and in all this He gives us the command to love one another (Matt, 26:26-28; Luke 22:19-20; John 13:1-17; 1 Cor. 11:17).

Illustration 

I read about how the “King of Abyssinia who once took a British subject named Cameron prisoner and incarcerated him in the high fortress of Magdala. No cause was stated for his confinement. When Great Britain found out, she demanded an immediate release of her citizen. King Theodore refused.

“According to the story, within days Great Britain sent several thousand soldiers by ship to Magdala. After marching across unfriendly country for many miles, they attacked the fortress and rescued that one British subject. “The expedition took several months and cost the English government twenty-five million dollars. The entire resources of the government were made available in the rescue of only one citizen.”

Similarly, because of God’s great love for us, He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, from heaven to earth to rescue you and me from the prison of eternal death (that we actually deserved) by dying in our place to pay the judgment price for our sins.

However, on the day before Jesus suffered an excruciating and agonizing death by being crucified, he gave his disciples and followers a new commandment and that was “that we love one another.” This he demonstrated for us on the cross at Calvary.

With tireless regularity Easter comes around year after year as a powerful reminder to all the world that Jesus, the Son of God, loved us so much that he gave his life as a ransom for our sins, so that we could be given a full and free pardon and the gift of eternal life.

There is no greater gift in all of life. There is no greater love in all the world. And because Jesus loved us so much, may God help us to love and forgive others as he has so freely loved and forgiven us. This is his new commandment to you and to me.

Lesson

What Jesus shows us in John 13 is sated in the key word, “Full extent of his love. The “full extent” is what Jesus was about to show—His sacrifice for our sins!

Jesus took on the righteous wrath of God for sin and paid the penalty, sacrificing Himself for us. Jesus not only set the example, but more importantly, also redeemed us. In addition, this refers to the “substitutionary atonement,” also known as “propitiation.” Christ was the innocent, sacrificial lamb who died for the guilty—for our sins, something which we could not do. The sacrifice of Christ was for us (Isa 53:4-12; Mark 10:45; Rom. 3:21-26; 1Cor. 1:23-25; 1 Tim. 2:6; Heb. 9:15). 1 Pet. 2:18-25)!

Wash one another’s feet. Meaning “imitation,” as in doing as you have seen me do and as I have instructed you. This was not to be a foot-washing ordinance; rather, it was an example of humble service. Real, effective leadership, whether meant to lead a person of the faith or to lead a church of the faithful is all about servant leadership. Ministry is not about what I want, it is about following Christ’s example and as a showcase for others to see and follow (Mark 10:35-45; Luke 22:26; John 1:27; 1 Cor. 3 – 4; Eph. 4; 2 Pet. 2:1-3).

We are called to be the “Example!”  To show others and influence and shepherd them (not just tell them.

Ordnance: Foot washing service 

Just look how our LORD God, the Creator and Sustainer did. Jesus took a towel and washed His disciples’ feet. (This can be an act we can simply use for a “Maundy Thursday” service, a reflection before Easter) Take a basin and towels and gently wash one another’s feet. It is best for the pastor and our leaders to do the washing. Do this with reverence and quiet with a prayer or blessing upon each person. I personally use Numbers 6:24-25.

Reflection 

Christian leaders are responsible to care for God’s people with faithfulness and honor, and never out of harsh or improper motivations! Jesus is our archetype and pattern for who we are and what we are to do—all in love and humility. We can trust Christ to lead us, and thus we can lead others in the same manner (Matt. 23).

Be blessed!  God desires to bestow upon us a significant favor and grace! 

This is a Jewish blessing, and means the God who blesses us—to be deeply happy and content because we are enjoying God and His special favor. There is a direct correlation between following Him and receiving His blessedness and contentment, and following ourselves, pride, and evil to be self-destructive and miserable (Deut. 27:11-28:6; Jer. 1:11-12; Ezek. 36:24-27; Mic. 1:10-15; Matt. 5:3-11; John 3; 7:37-39; 1 Peter 1: 3-12).

Suggested prayer: “Dear Jesus God, how can I ever thank you enough for all you have done for me. . . For dying for my sins and for rescuing me from the pit of hell and giving me the gift of eternal life to be in heaven forever with you. Help me to love others as you have loved me. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer, Gratefully in Jesus’ name, amen.”

Leader’s devotional beforehand: Jesus was demonstrating what the Disciples must do to participate in and spread the kingdom of God, focusing and developing others for Him by service, example, and humility. What this tells us that we must get our direction “form and mold” after Christ rather than trends, the latest ideas, or what we may think will work. Purely and simply, leadership is learned by first being a child and a servant of Christ. Neither an intellectual awareness nor Christian activity means anything without Christ. We must be His to do as He wills; this takes our acceptance of Christ first, then our commitment and continual faith (example: Ezek. 34: 1-10; Luke 15:3-7; John 10:1-18; 21:15-17; 1 Pet. 2:25; 5:3; love: Gal. 5:22-23; Col. 3:12-17; 1 Thess. 4:9-10; 5:8-13; 1 John 4:7-11; humility: 1 Kings 8:58; Psalm 25; Luke 22:27; Col. 1:18; Phil. 2:8; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:3-5)!

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About Biblical Guy

Dr. Richard Joseph Krejcir lives in Southern California and is married to the beautiful MaryRuth and a precious son Ryan, a miracle from God. He is a child of God who is committed to biblical understanding, prayer, spiritual growth, and integrity. He is the Founder and Director of Into Thy Word Ministries, a missions and discipling ministry, with a call upon his heart to bring discipleship materials to pastors and everyone who needs them here and overseas. He is also a researcher at the Schaeffer Institute and spent over fifteen years on an in-depth, careful and through study on End Times. He is the author of numerous articles, curriculum's and books such as "Into Thy Word," and is also an ordained pastor, teacher, and speaker. He is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena California (Master of Divinity) and holds a Ph.D. (Practical Theology) from London. He has amounted over 25 years of pastoral ministry experience including serving as a church growth consultant.
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