Maundy Thursday Guide


Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Good Friday. It marks the final night that Jesus gathered with His disciples before His crucifixion. On that night He explained the meaning of His death through a modified passover feast, He gave some of his final teachings, and He washed the feet of His disciples teaching them a “new commandment”—to love one another just as He has loved us.

Traditionally, the church has gathered on this night to remember the Lord’s Last Supper and His commandment (latin: mandatum) to “love one another.” We do this by reading Scripture, praying, sharing a meal, and celebrating communion. This is a night of both remembrance and preparation. We slow down on Thursday night to remember the love of Jesus our Suffering Servant, and we prepare our hearts to feel both the sorrow and the gratitude that should particularly mark Good Friday.



Prior to the meal, read aloud John 13:1-20 and 33-35. Then take a few minutes to pray around these themes:

  • Give thanks for the death and resurrection of Jesus, and the real life community borne in this death and resurrection and seen gathered.
  • Ask for help to remember and give weight to the events that this weekend memorializes.
  • Ask for help to believe that the death and resurrection of Jesus really grants all that the New Testament claims (forgiveness, adoption, union with Jesus, and new life).
  • Pray that God would move through our time together on Friday night and Sunday to help us believe and celebrate all that God has given us in the death and resurrection of Jesus.


Share a meal together, discussing the importance of Holy Week. Here are some questions that may help spur on conversation:

  • What is the significance of Jesus’ triumphal entry (Palm Sunday)? How was the way in which Jesus the king presented himself surprising to people? How is it surprising and/or difficult to accept for you?
  • What took place during the Last Supper? What do we learn about the character of Jesus from that evening? How does this bring joy to you? How is it challenging?
  • Why were the events of Good Friday necessary? For what reasons do you think it is hard for us to consider sin and its consequences? How do we see the glory of God in the crucifixion?
  • What might prevent us from deep and full celebration on Easter Sunday? In what ways does Easter inspire joy, comfort, and hope? What are ways you can prepare your heart for Good Friday and Easter Sunday?


On the night before His death, Jesus taught His disciples the meaning of His death through a modified passover meal that He instituted as a perpetual reminder for all who would follow Him. While celebrating Communion weekly in our gathered worship is a vital practice for our church, celebrating in homes with smaller communities can also be a powerful practice that can help us remember and celebrate what Jesus did for us on the cross. Here are the basic elements involved in celebrating Communion with your community:

  • Prepare: To celebrate Communion, you will need wine, grape juice, and bread.
  • Remind: Remind your community that we are truly grateful for everyone who is present, but that Communion is a covenant meal that is intended for followers of Jesus.
  • Read: Ask someone read 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.
  • Serve: Ask two people to serve Communion by offering the bread and the cup, saying:
    • “The Body of Christ, broken for you.”
    • “The Blood of Christ, shed for you.”
  • Sing (Optional): You can sing a simple and well-known hymn like The Doxology.
  • Pray: Ask someone close in prayer, thanking Jesus for the love that He has shown us through His sacrificial death on the cross.


Give some instructions in preparation for Good Friday. Our Good Friday service is very different from what many people have experienced. Encourage your community to arrive early. The service is very dark and is a service of remembrance and mourning. We will read together through the last hours of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion. We will sing about the cross. At the end, we will – in silence and darkness – receive the Lord’s Supper and leave.

For many the service is a disorienting one. It is designed to break us from the banality of much of our lives, immerse us in the gravity and sadness that marks Good Friday, and stir in us a longing to see the fruit of this night on Easter. The closing silence is particularly poignant for people as we ask that the whole congregation leave the building and parking lot in silence. Pray for this night. Pray that the Gospel would be clear. Pray that non-Christians, on Good Friday and Easter, would be given faith to believe.