What is Maundy Thursday?
Maundy Thursday, sometimes referred to as Holy Thursday, is observed the day before Good Friday (and just before the weekend of Easter Sunday). Taken from the Latin word, mandatum, meaning “commandment,” Maundy Thursday is a special opportunity to remember and celebrate our redemption, as well as the new commandment given by Jesus Christ to his disciples that they love one another as he first loved them (John 13:34-35).
On that Thursday, Jesus instituted the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, commonly called Communion, and modeled his sacrificial love by washing the disciples’ feet. Later that evening, Jesus and the disciples withdrew to the Garden of Gethsemene to pray. It was there that Judas betrayed our Lord with a kiss, resulting in his arrest. The record of these events can be found in all four gospels (see Matthew 26:17–75; Mark 14:12-72; Luke 22:7-62; John 13:1-38).
At Willow Creek Church, we hold a special Maundy Thursday worship service every year in remembrance of these events, with praise and thankfulness to God. During the service, we join with the church throughout history and around the world in receiving the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
The Bible neither requires nor forbids special Maundy Thursday worship gatherings. We do not offer ours as a mere ritual, but rather as one more opportunity to reflect upon and rejoice in the redemption that is ours through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of our Savior and King, Jesus Christ.