‘I was close… but no cigar’

Twice in one morning I was asked, why is it called Maundy Thursday? The answer I gave was close, but no cigar.

I thought ‘Maundy’ described the sense of mourning because Jesus was betrayed by one of his disciples; close, but no cigar. The word Maundy is an Anglo-French reworking of the Latin word mandatum; which means command. Jesus at the Last Supper gives his disciples a command, to not only love as he has loved them but to also repeat the meal in memory of him.

Jesus commands us to repeat this meal because the Passover explains why he died and why he was resurrected. Passover tells the story of how God set Israel free from the captivity of Egypt by the shedding of lambs’ blood. The ‘New Passover’, that is communion, tells the story of how the blood of Jesus sets us free from the captivity of sin, death and the devil.

What other parts of the Easter story may you be close to understanding, but yet have no cigar? How do you understand why Jesus died, why he was raised physically from the dead and why our hope is of new creation and not heaven alone?

Jesus death on Good Friday wasn’t so that we may go to heaven, but that God’s new creation may be born instead. As the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, his death has defeated the powers of sin, death and the devil and by his resurrection he is the first fruit of this new creation. When it says that Jesus explained to Cleopas and his friend all that the Scriptures said concerning himself, he was describing the end to which Scripture pointed. The goal to which Scripture points is the time when God’s plans and purposes for the whole of creation will be fulfilled; when the earth shall be filled with the glory of God. Easter is the dramatic demonstration of the power of God’s love over sin, death and the devil and today we are to live anticipating the life of God’s new creation which will be when Christ comes again as King to complete his work.

As you unwrap your eggs this Easter time to feast on your chocolate, the egg, reminding us of the stone that was rolled away, invites us all to unravel the heart and soul of Easter not for us to be close but that we may know the life of Jesus in us today.

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