Maundy Thursday: A New Commandment to Love

Maundy Thursday is the day during Holy Week when Christians partake in the Lord's Supper to commemorate Jesus' last supper with the disciples. It sets off a chain of religious services including Good Friday and, of course, Easter Sunday.

Many churches commemorate Maundy Thursday with a communion service and which is referenced in the biblical text of Luke 22.

"I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer," Jesus said. "For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God."

"And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body broken for you; do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you'" (Luke 22:19-20).

Maundy is the term assigned to this service and day, in reference to the Latin word for commandment, "mandatum."

"In these last days of his life, Jesus both states and enacts his new commandment, that we love one another as he has loved us," Rev. Mary Earle writes on

One other tradition practiced by some churches includes the washing of feet, which can be referenced in John 13. After Jesus washes his disciples' feet, he explains his actions.

"Now that I, your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should d as I have done for you" (John 13:14-15).

Maundy, then, refers to this spiritual act of serving one another and the commandment given to love one another.

"A washing and a meal," writes Rev. Earle, "both shared in common, both offered by Jesus as signs of the love that will not let us go, of the divine life embodied in him."

Immediately following the Last Supper, Jesus was arrested, publicly tried, and crucified a cross to die. It is of great significance that this is how he chose to spend the last hours of his life, setting the example that we should all be in fellowship with one another, loving and nourishing each other until Jesus returns.