Maundy Thursday: The word “Maundy” comes to us as an Anglo-French word derived from the Latin “mandatum,” which means “commandment.” It refers to when Jesus, in the Upper Room during the Last Supper, said to the disciples: “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34 RSV) Sometimes called Holy Thursday, it is the Thursday before Easter and is commemorated in some way in almost all fundamental churches. While some services may include foot-washing, I attend a church where the Lord’s Supper is observed. After we partake of the bread and juice, we leave the church in total silence, speaking to no one until we have exited the building. I always look forward to this service and those few minutes of silence when one can reflect on the sacrifices of Christ for our sakes—what Jesus did is uppermost in my mind. Even after we enter our car, my husband and I will sometimes continue the silence, hesitant to speak lest the solemnness of the moment be broken. Our pastor paints such a picture of that Last Supper that we feel as if we have been in the very room with Jesus and his group–and the silence only enhances the feelings of praise and gratitude in our hearts.
Good Friday: So why is this day called “good?” After the Last Supper, Jesus and his disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. While he was there, one of his disciples betrayed him. He was arrested and immediately taken before the Sanhedrin (Jewish supreme court), where he was found guilty. From there he was taken to stand before Pilate (Roman manager of Judea), thereafter taken to face Herod (Roman king of Judea), and then back to Pilate again. He was condemned to death. He was stripped of all human dignity: scourged, crowned with thorns, spat upon, made to carry a cross through the streets, actually nailed to that cross, and finally having to suffer the slow and painful death of crucifixion from 9:00am to 3:00pm. After he died, he was taken from the cross and buried in a tomb. But wait…the third day later it was discovered that Jesus was no longer in the tomb! At first it was thought that perhaps the body had been stolen. But guards had been placed at the entrance of the tomb to keep that from happening, and then Jesus appeared to the disciples. It was clear that He had overcome death!
That horrendous, terrible Friday has been called Good Friday because it took the death and burial of Jesus on that day to make the victory of the Resurrection possible. His victory over death and sin is why we celebrate Easter! Have a blessed Easter.
(c) 2019 Leslie O. Kelley
source: Wm. B. Bradshaw at www.huffpost.com