The New Covenant
Maundy Thursday is an alternate name for Holy Thursday, the first of the three days of solemn remembrance of the events leading up to and immediately following the crucifixion of Jesus. The English word “Maundy” comes from the Latin mandatum, which means “commandment.”
The Gospel of John records some of the details from this night and it shows that it started with the customary washing of the guests’ feet usually done by a servant but on this night done by Jesus. Jesus explained to His friends that He did this to show forth an example to them that the leader had to first be a servant both in physical service and of the heart. His “New” Commandment he gave them in Vs 34 of Chapter 13 was to “Love one another “ as in His example of service by putting others first.
One of the sacraments of the Church today also came from that night. The observance of communion in remembrance of Jesus sacrifice for the worlds’ transgressions. Our Text comes today from the gospel of Luke so we can understand how God provided this bridge from the Old Testament to the New Testament gospel and how the cross became that bridge that allows all to come directly to God in Jesus Christ.
14 When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table.[a]15 Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. 16 For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.”
17 Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. 18 For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.”
19 He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”20 After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.Luke 22:14-21 (NLT)
The Last Supper
The scriptures tell us that on the day of the Passover celebration Jesus sent two of His apostles into town to prepare the meal. Verse 14 above picks up as the meal starts.
Jesus tells His friends that He has been looking forward to this time of fellowship them. He is not looking forward to the cross but to the result it will bring His friends when His love for them takes Him there. Verse 17 says He took a cup of wine and after giving thanks He handed the vase to them to share among themselves.
Jesus had said earlier in His ministry that He “had not come to abolish the Law ( Old Covenant ) but to fulfill it. We find from the garden of Eden to the Cross of Jesus no forgiveness is possible without the shedding of blood. In giving one cup to share among many Jesus honors the Old Testament covenant of one priest going out to many offering the blood sacrifices on their behalf for forgiveness.
Verse 18 is the blessing and eating of the bread which Jesus says is His body that was given for us. The physical bridge to God was Jesus on the Cross as His body was given for us. Verse 19 records the second cup of wine that Jesus explains is the “New Covenant” between God and us, an agreement Jesus says is confirmed by His blood, that will be poured out for everyone. This represents the New Covenant – One cup poured out into anyone who accepts Jesus Christ as their salvation through his blood that will be shed on the cross.
May we celebrate Maundy Thursday today in Holy Week by thinking on the New Commandment to love one another as Jesus loved us and to remember the New Covenant made with us that through Him, we might each be forgiven of our sins under His blood that was poured out for us on the cross.
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