Maundy Thursday

by Christine Sine

by June Friesen

Maundy Thursday is not a term that is used in the Scriptures. I also have to admit that it is not a term that I was familiar with until later in my adult life. As I researched this term and day, I found that it is a term given to the Thursday before Good Friday in England. In many or most other countries it is referred to as Holy Thursday. So where does the word Maundy originate or what is its meaning? Maundy is the term that designates the rite of ‘foot washing’ in the Christian church that is practiced after the example of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples at the Last Supper. This was His final time with them before His arrest, trial and crucifixion. John 13 is where this story was recorded in detail.

John 13 1-2 Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father. Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end. It was suppertime. The Devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firmly in his grip, all set for the betrayal.
3-6 Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Master, you wash my feet?”
Jesus answered, “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later.”
Peter persisted, “You’re not going to wash my feet—ever!”
Jesus said, “If I don’t wash you, you can’t be part of what I’m doing.”
“Master!” said Peter. “Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!”
10-12 Jesus said, “If you’ve had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you’re clean from head to toe. My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene. So now you’re clean. But not every one of you.” (He knew who was betraying him. That’s why he said, “Not every one of you.”) After he had finished washing their feet, he took his robe, put it back on, and went back to his place at the table.
12-17 Then he said, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master,’ and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do. I’m only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn’t give orders to the employer. If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life.

In the Christian Church, there are some churches that practice foot washing and others that do not. When we look at the history of foot washing in the Biblical times it was not necessarily a ‘religious practice’ but rather was a courteous practice provided by a host/hostess as guests came to their home. This was offered because most everyone either walked in bare feet or with sandals and their feet became very dusty/dirty. No doubt sometimes there were even small cuts or punctures from stickers, stones etc. that were on the pathways. This was usually a task that was provided by the servants of the household rather than the host or hostess. Given this history of foot washing one can understand why Peter, who we recognize as the outspoken one, responded as he did.

Another consideration in this record is that Judas would have been present for the foot washing. How would Judas have felt? Do you think there were any quiet words exchanged between Jesus and Judas? Another couple of questions I have are: did Jesus speak any words to Judas as He washed his feet? How did Judas respond or feel being a part of such an intimate setting knowing what he was going to do in a few hours? I have to admit that meditating upon these verses, trying to put myself in the place of the disciples caused me to seriously consider: how would I have responded or would I respond to Jesus even today if He appeared with a towel and basin of water and sat down at my feet? 


Today Jesus is inviting me to come –
To come and sit in a chair  and be with Him –
I look into His face –
I see an invitation of love in His eyes –
I see a smile of peace upon His lips –
I come with hesitant step –
I motion for Him to sit instead
As I have always heard
That I should come and sit at the feet of Jesus.
Yet, Jesus is insistent
And even pats the seat as He once again invites me to sit –
And then I sit – – – –
As I sit I see Jesus then
Reach behind me –
When He comes back in front of me –
He has a towel over His arm
And a basin of water in His hands –
Surely He is going to ask me now to wash His feet.
But no –
What is He doing now?
This cannot be –
He is setting the basin at my feet –
He then sits down at my feet –
And gently, ever so gently He takes my feet –
One foot at a time – – – –
And places them in the basin of water –
My mind, my spirit 
What in the world is happening here – –
And then I feel His Hands gently bathing my feet –
How soothing His Hands are not only to my feet but to my spirit as well –
He looks up into my eyes with tender love and acceptance –
That invite me to relax, let go –
And embrace His gentle love as He prepares my feet
To begin a new walk with Him in the days ahead.
Then He gently takes my feet and places them in the towel,
He gently pats them dry and I hear His voice once again:
“Bless my dear child Father,
On their walk here on this earth,
Guide their feet over the path they will be given to walk,
Help them maneuver through the rough terrain
Of rocks, ruts, puddles, slippery mud, uphill and down –
When they stumble give them a hand to steady their step,
When they fall give them a hand to help them up,
When they are discouraged and don’t know which way to turn
Call in Your own gentle way, Father
Directing them to where You are taking them –
Thank You Father for this precious child –
Thank You for watching over them all the way
Until You and I have their home ready for eternity –
And then help them to take that last step
When I can reach out and say –
‘Welcome home my child – your eternal home is ready now
Where you can live forever with my Father and I.
Signed, Jesus 

Screenshot 2024 03 26 at 9.57.46 PM

Photos by June Friesen. Scripture is from The Message translation.


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