Eric Huntsman on Maundy Thursday

Heinrich Hofmann, Christ in Gethsemane

Heinrich Hofmann, Christ in Gethsemane

Eric Huntsman continues his series on Holy Week.

The Thursday before Easter is a day rich in deep, often poignant events. These include Jesus’ last supper with his disciples, at which he instituted the sacrament and washed his disciples’ feet; his prayer and agony in the Garden of Gethsemane; his betrayal by Judas and abandonment by the other disciples; and his arrest, cynical examination, and abuse by the Jewish authorities of the time.

Known as Holy Thursday in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox communities, in many English-speaking countries this Thursday is sometimes called “Maundy Thursday.” The word “maundy” is an early English form of the Latin mandatum for “commandment” and recalls Jesus’ teaching “A new commandment I give you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye love one another” (John 13:34).

In God So Loved the World, 49, I wrote:

While Latter-day Saints do not formally observe the day, the events commemorated in the gospel texts for Thursday hold great significance for us. Because we partake of the sacrament weekly, the Last Supper has particular meaning. Further, insights from restoration scripture and latter-day apostles and teachers regarding the atonement make the events in Gethsemane especially important. But Thursday also marks some beautiful final teachings of Jesus to his closest disciples, as well as other, difficult experiences-such as his betrayal, abuse, abandonment, and false judgment-that were important parts of his “descending below all things” (D&C 88:6; 122:8).

Scriptural Accounts for Thursday: Mark 14:12–72; Matthew 26; Luke 22; John 13:1–18:27; see also Mosiah 3:7 and D&C 19:15–20

The following episodes are discussed and illustrated with art, photographs, and music on today’s Holy Week blog entry.

  • The Last Supper (Matt 26:17–35; Mark 14:12–31; Luke 22:7–38; John 13:1–38)
  • Last Supper Discourses (Luke 22:24–30; John 13:31–17:26)
  • Jesus Goes to Gethsemane: “The Valley of the Shadow of Death” (18:1a)
  • Jesus at Gethsemane (Mark 14:32–42; Matt 26:36–47; Luke 22:39–46; John 18:1b)
  • Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus (Mark 14:43–52; Matt 26:47–56; Luke 22:47–53; John 18:2–3)
  • Jesus Before the Jewish Authorities (Mark 14:43–65; Matt 26:57–68; Luke 22:54–71; John 18–28)


  1. Eric, thank you for this.

    We followed the very ancient tradition that is common here of visiting 7 Catholic churches this morning. I’ve found as many explanations for doing this as there are people who do it, but my favorite reason is that it is to remind us of Jesus asking his disciples to watch and pray for him while he was in the Garden of Gethsemane.

    We ended at the Templo Expiatorio which has the most moving depictions of the Stations of the Cross that I’ve seen in almost any church. A fitting reminder for what is coming tomorrow. I hope it’s not too tacky to share an old post from my blog with photos of each of the Stations at that church.

  2. Thanks for sharing that, Amira.

  3. I’m ashamed to say that I did not know that the root for maundy was teaching. I had assumed a link with mourning based on the assonance between the two words. Focusing on what he taught, especially in the Johannine account, could be a refreshing way to mark the day.