This time of year is special for every Christian. A time for prayer, reflection, and celebration of the Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection; as we go through the Easter weekend and learn about the different days; their meaning; and why we celebrate the Passion of Christ (Psalm Sunday to Easter).
Christmas is an extraordinary time of year for every Christian, and we understand that Easter doesn’t come without Christmas. Still, our Salvation comes to us through the blood atonement of our crucified Savior, Jesus Christ.
Maundy Thursday, or the “Great and Holy Thursday,” comes from a Latin word that means “a new ‘commandment’ I give to you” (John 13:34). It is the night of the Lord’s Supper, the last night the twelve spent together with their Rabbi. The night that Jesus lowered himself in ultimate service to the washing of the disciple’s feet. He even washed Judas’ feet on the night He was betrayed. The night that He gave each of us a new commandment. The commandment to love one another as He loved us. This commandment seems impossible because He loved us so much that He willingly surrendered and endured all sufferings to restore our relationship with God. A commandment that He would not have given us without giving us the power through the Holy Spirit to fulfill it.
In Jewish traditions, festivals always begin at sunset. This timing follows the principles that God outlined in His Creation. Night comes before the day. Darkness gives way to light. The earth was void in darkness until God spoke light into existence. With that, we understand that the very first thing Jesus did on the day He was crucified was to share a meal that we know as the Last Supper. The Last Supper, His prayer time in the garden of Gethsemane, His capture, His trial, His suffering, His Crucifixion, His death, and His burial all happened on the same festival day.
The Last Supper explains the soon-to-be complete sacrifice of our Lord. The bread represents His broken body, and the cup His shed blood. The blood atonement of Christ is how we stand righteous before God (Romans 5:9). When Judas was exposed; he left the table immediately. Jesus declared that “Now” the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. The time of the fullness of Christ was here. There was nothing that could turn back the hands of time. Nothing could alter the time of the crucifixion. The time of God was to be fulfilled just as promised.
We celebrate Maundy Thursday in reverence to the Lord’s supper, the communion of God and man, through offering Jesus’ flesh and blood. We partake of the Eucharist (bread and cup) in remembrance of Christ’s giving of Himself on our behalf (1 Cor 11:23-26).
Likewise, we celebrate “Good Friday” in reverence of Jesus’ final and complete sacrifice on the cross for our sins by His death. The day He suffered the cruelty of the scourge and the raising of the cross. On the day His death paid for all our sins on the cross. We cannot erase our guilt or overcome our sins through good deeds. The sacrifice of Christ allows us to be justified through faith in Him, His blood atonement, and the Grace freely given by Him. (Romans 3:21-26) Christ did what we could never do for ourselves by dying for us on that first Good Friday.
We celebrate Easter Sunday in reverence of the open and empty tomb, a risen Savior that defeated death, fulfilling a God-promised covenant. Jesus had broken the bonds of death, and now He was alive! Suddenly, his followers realized that what initially seemed to be a defeat was a victory over Satan, sin, and death.
What a stark difference occurs in our lives when we are transformed by the understanding that we have a risen and ascended Savior. (Luke 24:51–53).