Happy Maundy Thursday! (aka, “Holy” Thursday and “Great” Thursday.) Perennially curious as I am about the origins of words, I just Googled “Maundy Thursday” and learned there are two possible reasons for its name. Care to know? Sure you do!
1) It could be derived from the first word of the Latin phrase: Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos (“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you”), the statement given by Jesus in John 13:34. Jesus had previously washed His disciples’ feet as an example of love and humility. The aforementioned phrase is sung during occasional Catholic Masses in which a priest or bishop washes others’ feet.
2) A second possibility is that the term “Maundy” originated with the use of “maundsor” baskets during the medieval period in England. The king would distribute alms – “maundy purses” – to the poor before attending Mass on this day. According to Wikipedia, the first possibility is the likeliest.
Please forgive the tangent! Time to “pass over” to some Seder talk :-).
The Passover meal that religious Jews have honored and observed for over 3,000 years consists of very specific components that point back to the watershed moment in Israel’s history- the Israelites’ escape from slavery and journey into the Promised Land.
“This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD—a lasting ordinance.” – Exodus 12:14
But Almighty God, having provided a plan for all of mankind’s redemption long before Christ’s incarnation (spoken of in Genesis 3, in fact), further enriched the Passover meal by prophetically including glimpses of spiritual deliverance for both Jew and Gentile. Here are a few of those elements and what they symbolize:
Three Matzahs (unleavened crackers): There are a few interpretations for these: 1) They represent the three historical groupings of the Jewish people: the priests of biblical times, the priests’ assistants, and the remainder of the Hebrew tribes, known as the Israelites. 2) They represent the Three Crowns: learning, priesthood, and kingship. 3) They represent the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
In the middle of Passover meal, the second matzah is removed, hidden away, and then brought back, wrapped in linen, and eaten by all. Jews question the reason for this ritual, but to Christians, it seems apparent that this second piece of matzah, which by nature appears pierced and striped as Christ was, is a picture of Jesus, the second part of the Trinity, who was forsaken by God so that He could take our sins upon Himself, wrapped in linen, and then revealed again after three days in the grave. It’s interesting to note that the Greek word for this matzah is afikomen, which means, He came.
Z’roa (shank bone of the lamb): The roasted shank bone, of course, represents the spotless lambs slain to cover the doorposts in Egypt. For we as Christians, this is a picture of our perfect, sacrificial Lamb, the Lamb of God. What’s fascinating is the fact that Jesus’ sacrifice coincided with and directly paralleled the slaying of the Passover lambs. He entered Jerusalem on the day the lambs were being selected. The lambs were temporarily treated like royalty and loved by their families. Christ, before His death, was greeted with palm branches and the words, “Hosanna,”-save us. The lambs were carefully inspected for four days by the priests to ensure that they were fit for sacrifice, just as Christ was inspected and questioned by the Sadducees and Pharisees before He was sentenced to crucifixion. On Good Friday, at 3:00pm, Jesus said, “It is finished,” and gave up His spirit, just as the lambs were being slain. Oh, and the priest was to recite that exact phrase as he slayed a lamb. Coincidence?? At that moment, as a shofar (trumpet) sounded from the Temple, the veil demarking the Holy of Holies, was torn top to bottom, symbolizing the removal of any separation between God and man; God left the earthly Temple to inhabit us!
Third Cup: The Cup of Redemption represents the precious blood of Jesus poured out for us.
I could go on, but I sympathize with the attention spans of this generation! Praise Jesus for laying down His life, making atonement for all of our sins, once and for all!
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…- 1st Peter 1:3
Stay fit, stay faithful ~<3 Di