And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood." (Lk. 22:19-20)
Today is Maundy-Thursday. But what does that mean anyway? For years as a young believer I would think to myself, ‘What a strange phrase—Monday-Thursday.’ ‘Huh? Monday through Thursday? Is that what they mean by Monday-Thursday?’ Maundy is a word derived from the Latin meaning ‘mandate.’ Thus, Maundy-Thursday is the day in which Christians celebrate the day on which Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper. In some churches it is also the day on which Christ commanded the disciples to wash each other’s feet. Thus, in some churches they practice foot washing as part of the Maundy-Thursday observance. However, regardless of your tradition, all recognize it as the day on which Christ and his disciples celebrated the Passover meal on the night before his crucifixion. What an interesting and somber night that must have been. With the sound of bleating lambs in the background, with the image of lambs being slaughtered at the temple, and with a tone of sorrow in his voice, Jesus says to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Lk. 22:15). Jesus, the Lamb of God, is preparing to become the one true sacrificial lamb for the sins of his people. Then he takes a piece of unleavened bread and holds it up and says, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” He then holds up a cup of wine and says, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” Jesus was communicating to them that just as there was a covenant established with Israel in the wilderness after God delivered them out of bondage via the blood of a lamb, so also Jesus was about to establish a new covenant with God’s people who would be truly delivered from the bondage of sin, Satan, and death via the blood of the Lamb. Maundy-Thursday is the day on which we remember that sacrifice and the new covenant community established through Christ.
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