Maundy Thursday, commemorates the mandetum or commandment of the Lord. Jesus along with his disciples celebrate the Passover meal together as part of the Jewish tradition in remembrance of how Yahweh saved them from the Egyptians and made then into a nation.
During Jesus’ lifetime the Israelites were under the Roman rule and were hoping for ‘salvation from life under them’. They remembered the deeds of the Lord in gratitude as a tradition. They remembered to reiterate their hope in Yahweh . They wanted to be free.
God heard their prayers. God saw their situation. God did intervene yet again. This time as Jesus celebrates the Passover with his disciples he changes the liturgy a little. He gives thanks for the bread and says ” This is my body, take and eat” (Mathew 26:26). He introduces us to a new liturgy that we will follow – the communion table. The bread now is reinterpreted as Jesus’ body whereas earlier it represented the unleavened bread the Israelites ate in a hurry as they rushed out of Egypt. Jesus lifts the cup of wine which represented the blood of the lamb and redirects the disciples attention to his own death. He gives thanks and says, “Drink from it, all of you.This is my blood of the[b]covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mathew 26:27-28)
What a night! Jesus gives us the basis for the communion and reinstates a new mandate for us. He also gives us the hope, when he says “Mark my words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”Mathew 26:29.
Knowing fully well what is to follow Jesus goes out to pray. He desires to be communion with the Father during an intense period of his life. I am still grabbling with the intensity of this prayer, I confess I don’t know it all but this doodle clearly represents my prayer. Sometimes life can get very heavy but Jesus calls us into His presence, so He can breathe His life into us, helping us live this God-life.
This same night Judas walks into the garden with soldiers and shows them where Jesus was by Himself. He betrayed Jesus into the hands of the soldiers. This is the same night that Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and demonstrated His love to them.
Jesus was handed over to the priests, that same night. His appointed time had come. Both Judas and Peter knew Jesus. Both Judas and Peter chose different responses to this knowledge. Judas disillusioned with Jesus’ teachings showed the priests where Jesus was. Peter succumbed to fear and denied even knowing Jesus. Eventually Judas regrets his actions and wants to undo his errors on his own. He looses hope and faith and hangs himself. Peter on the other hand turns around and dedicates his life to sharing his faith in Jesus until he is martyred. Who is Jesus to you?