Posted by: Ed | April 9, 2009


Today is Maundy Thursday.
This is the day that Jesus & His disciples made preparations for the Passover meal, the Seder that became known as the “Last Supper.”

•    At this meal Jesus laid aside His robes (the early fathers went crazy waxing on about the symbolism of this – I think they were right btw) took a towel & a basin & washed the feet of those at the supper like a common house servant.
•    During the supper (at the 3rd cup of the meal – the cup of redemption) Jesus instituted what we call the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, and communion.
•    He shared the heartbreaking news that one of them would betray Him and that all of them would desert Him.
•    He taught what is known as the “Upper Room Discourse” – some precious teaching that only John shares with us (John 13-16).
•    This was the night of arrest & the beginning of the trials (although we think more about all of that tomorrow).

But where Maundy Thursday gets the name is from John 13:34. In the Latin translation of the original Greek (that was the people’s translation of the western part of the early Church called the Vulgate translated by the great scholar, pastor Jerome) it says:
mandatum novum do vobis ut…
“A new commandment I give to you that you love one another as I have loved you.” Those of you that speak Spanish will recognize the 1st word – “mandamiento” is commandment. When, you aren’t sure you hear someone correctly, you say “Mande?” (Lit. “command me”). The command of Jesus is that we love. Paul says love actually fulfills the Law.

Tomorrow night we are going to take communion at the Good Friday Services. But maybe tonight if you are with some friends or your family, you can get a hold of some red wine, or grape juice and some matza (any break really, but it’s good to go old school if possible) & remember the day. There’s a sense in which Jesus was enjoying one last happy moment before the darkness would engulf them & he would suffer & be afflicted.



  1. Thanks for bringing it back to the source Ed. I have often mused about what Jesus was specifically saying here as commanding Jews to love one another was not a new thing. Commandments or mitzvot such as loving parents, neighbors, even another’s livestock are all common in Leviticus alone. The command to love the Lord or Hashem also dates from the giving of the Torah to Israel and was well understood as a mitzvah at this time.

    So it seems the crux must be Jesus focus on his clarifying example or fulfillment. The filling out of this previous legacy.

    I wonder what the major thrust was that night besides someone in authority acting as a servant…or need there be?

  2. Thanks, is it true that the cup in which Jesus offered is also symbolic of the marriage cup of that day? It seems a little weird but was Jesus in a sense offering to his disciples and to us a new type of relationship “like” that of a marriage? Is this an accurate view?

  3. Great thought Ken! I can’t say I’ve ever thought about this or read it anywhere (in terms of the specific idea of the cup). Although I think the primary reference & significance of the 3rd cup, the cup that became the “Lord’s supper” cup was redemption. But it is not a stretch to think of Christ & his bride. Especially since Paul ties redemption & the marriage covenant together at some level in Ephesians 5. Beruch atah elohim adonai!

  4. Hey Ken & Ed,

    I would agree and the source text clearly conveys this.

    The 4 cups come from Gd’s promises to Israel of what he will do as a result of the Exodus. Immediately before the promises, Hashem recalls his marriage contract or covenant with Israel.

    We read this in Exodus 6:5-8 (cups EMPHASIZED):

    “Furthermore I have heard the groaning of the sons of Israel, because the Egyptians are holding them in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant.

    “Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I WILL BRING YOU out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I WILL DELIVER YOU from their bondage I WILL ALSO REDEEM YOU with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.

    ‘Then I WILL TAKE YOU for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.

    I believe this confirms both your thoughts Ken & Ed and shows that all 4 cups are a confirmation of our marriage contract with Hashem, first for the Jew and then for the Greek.


  5. Here is some additional info on the four cups:

  6. Thanks Jon, the parallels between ancient jewish weddings and scripture are amazing. The cup portion stands out to me the most. When a groom proposed to the bride he would offer a cup containing wine symbolic of his blood, and the beging of the marriage covnetant. If she accepted she would be know as “one bought with a price.” Thanks for the clarification. Grace and peace

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