What is Maundy Thursday and why do churches celebrate it?
Maundy Thursday is also known as, "Holy Thursday." It is the day before Good Friday. Good Friday is the day before Easter. All of this happens during, "Holy Week," which is the last week of the life of Jesus.
Maundy Thursday commemorates what we refer to as, "The Last Supper." Jesus shared the "Passover Meal" on the night before He was crucified. The "Passover Meal" refers to the celebration of all Jews who remember when Moses led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and eventually into the promised land of Caanan. In response to the last of 10 plagues in which the "destroyer," would kill the first born child, the Israelites were told that if they would place blood on the door post, the "destroyer," would pass over them and no blood would be shed. Thus the term, "Passover."
Jesus sat at the able with His 12 apostles. One would betray Him, and that was Judas. One would deny Him, and that was Peter. The other ten fled for fear of their life. During this time, the Bible records that the Lord Jesus on the night when He was betrayed took bread, and when He had given thanks He broke it and said, "This is my body which is given to you. Eat this as often as you do in remembrance of Me." In the same manner, He took the cup and said, "This is the New Covenant in My blood. Drink this as often as you do in remembrance of Me." Thus, this has become how the Church celebrates that occassion by referring to it as, "Communion," the "Eucharist," or simply the, "Lord's Supper."
The word, "Maundy," comes from the Latin word for, "command." This word used on Maundy Thursday refers to the command that Jesus gave to His apostles and disciples that they should love one another.
If everyone in the world observed this command, what a wonderful world we would have.