Question: "What is Maundy Thursday / Holy Thursday?"
Answer: Maundy Thursday, also known as “Holy Thursday,” is the Thursday of Passion Week, one day before Good Friday (the Friday before Easter). Maundy Thursday is the name given to the day on which Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples, known as the Last Supper. Two important events are the focus of Maundy Thursday.
First, Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples and thereby instituted the Lord’s Supper, also called Communion (Luke 22:19-20). Some Christian churches observe a special Communion service on Maundy Thursday in memory of Jesus’ Last Supper with His disciples. Second, Jesus washed the disciples’ feet as an act of humility and service, thereby setting an example that we should love and serve one another in humility (John 13:3-17). Some Christian churches observe a foot-washing ceremony on Maundy Thursday to commemorate Jesus’ washing the feet of the disciples.
The word Maundy is derived from the Latin word for “command.” The “Maundy” in “Maundy Thursday” refers to the command Jesus gave to the disciples at the Last Supper, that they should love and serve one another. Should we observe Maundy Thursday? The Bible neither commands nor forbids it. It is a good thing to remember the Last Supper and Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. It is a good thing to remember the Lord’s example of humility. However, at the same time, we should avoid ritualistic observances of holidays unless they are truly focused on God and our relationship with Him.
Observing a special Lord's Supper service on Maundy Thursday/Holy Thursday in remembrance of the Last Supper is a good thing to do. Doing a foot-washing in remembrance of how Christ humbled Himself and washed the feet of the disciples is a powerful reminder of how we are to live the Christian life (Philippians 2:1-11). Let's just make sure we are observing Maundy Thursday in a way that truly honors what happened at the Last Supper.
Maundy Thursday Calendar:
2015 – April 2
2016 – March 24
2017 – April 13
2018 – March 29
2019 – April 18
2020 – April 9