March 24 — Maundy Thursday
Sermon Text — Luke 22:7-20
Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. AMEN! Our text for this evening’s sermon is taken from St. Luke’s gospel account the 22nd chapter.
Beloved in the Lord,
When God Saves He Feeds
The room is chosen. The table is set. All is ready. It is the feast of unleavened bread, also known as the Passover. This night is unlike all other nights for on this night Israel remembers the mighty deeds of the Lord, when He brought out of Egypt the sons of Jacob with an outstretched arm, when He redeemed the descendants of Abraham by the blood of the lamb. The room is chosen. The table is set. All is ready. The Lamb has been slaughtered. The disciples have gathered. Now they feast. When God saves His people He also feeds His people. They share in the sacrifice by eating the sacrifice. Hearts once burdened with doubt and despair are given to gladness. The people of God are redeemed. The redeemed eat the lamb and the redeemed drink the wine. When God saves His people He also feeds His people. His people share in the sacrifice, they gain the victory, they remember His deeds and rejoice in His covenant. For God’s salvation is rooted in His promises. His promises are revealed in His covenant. Covenants aren’t written, they are cut. Covenants aren’t contracts signed with ink they are promises sealed with blood. Thus the blood of the covenant is spread on the doorposts, marking those inside as ones redeemed by the blood of the lamb, sparing them from the angel of death. Tonight the disciples gather to remember such things. Tonight the room is chosen, the table is set, all is ready. Tonight they gather with Jesus.
The Great Desire of God
Jesus desires to share this meal with His chosen ones. He desire no less of you. Those who follow the man with the water gather in the upper room for the meal. Likewise, the water and the Word have marked us. This is the place where we meet Jesus, not just tonight, but whenever His Word is preached and His sacraments are given out. This is place Jesus desires to meet us, to be with us, to share the mighty deeds of the Lord with us. The room is chosen. The table is set. All is ready. When God redeems His people He also feeds His people. He would redeem you and He would feed you tonight.
Tonight the Lord desires to covenant with you because He loves you. This new covenant is unlike the old. The Old covenant we could not keep. The Old covenant we broke. The Law of God was written on stone. That same law accuses us before the Lord. The Old Covenant has become a curse, a word of condemnation, of accusation. God made promises and we failed. God offered Himself and we went after idols. God called us to repentance and we turned a deaf ear. We exchanged the bread of God for the raisin cakes of the world. Instead of sharing His holiness we shared our beds. Instead of trusting His Word, we lent our ears to the promises of princes. Our faith has wavered. Our works have made us unclean. We don’t deserve the Lord’s mercy. Doubt riddles our days. Hope is often fleeting. Sin vies for dominion over our heart. Like the disciples in our text we are here only because Jesus is here. We have nothing to offer. No gifts to bring. No works to do. Everything hangs on Jesus tonight.
The Meal of Deliverance
Tonight the Lord wishes to feast with you. It is His delight to recline at table with you, to serve you, to forgive you. Tonight is not about the Passover meal. Tonight is all about Jesus. Tonight is not about the lamb slaughtered in the temple. In fact, Luke never mentions the lamb, only the bread, only the wine. Tonight is all about Jesus. Tonight is not about the old covenant, the covenant which we broke, the one which troubles our conscience, but about the New, the One Jesus offers, the one that comforts our conscience with the forgiveness of sins. Everything hangs on Jesus tonight. Everything depends on His Word.
His Word is a very pregnant Word. He speaks of His body “given for you” and “the New Testament” in His blood, “given for you.” It is a Word full of passion. It is a Word full of the cross. It is a Word full of Jesus. The Old Covenant is being fulfilled in their very hearing. The Law’s demands for perfection are met in Jesus. Everything hangs on Jesus. All of the promises of God are bound up in His Son. The New Covenant is sealed with His blood poured out and His body broken. What is going to happen on Friday is given to the 12 on Thursday. What has happened so long ago is now given to you and me tonight. Everything hangs on Jesus and His Word because Jesus is crucified, dead, buried, and risen. The New Covenant is His blood. And through His Body and His blood God pledges within the depths of your heart, “I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
The Great Desire of God
Thus the great desire of our God is redeem us and feed us. When God redeems His people He also feeds His people. Tonight is not about remembering what once happened so long ago, but receiving what happened so long ago today under the bread and the wine. God’s great desire is to save sinners. God’s great desire is to redeem slaves. God’s great desire is to set the captives free. God’s great desire is share Himself, be your God and you be His dearly loved child. God’s great desire is manifest to you tonight in this meal of deliverance. This meal of deliverance is no Passover meal. That was of the old covenant, the covenant which we broke. No! This meal of deliverance is full of Jesus. It gives just what Jesus says. Because everything depends on Jesus and His Word. Thus what we are given is what Jesus’ Word says we are given. What we eat is His body. What we drink is His blood. The redemption of our bodies and the salvation of our souls, purchased and won for us on the tree of the cross is now handed to you under the forms of bread and wine. Everything hangs on Jesus. Everything depends on His Word. And through this Word under the bread and wine God forgives sins, your sins, even your worst sins, the sins no one knows about, the sins you have forgotten about, the sins which trouble your conscience and darken the corners of your heart. This meal is given for you. The body of Jesus is for you. The blood of Jesus is for you. For Jesus was crucified for you. Jesus was buried for you. And Jesus is risen for you. What you eat and what you drink are the very body and blood once offered on the cross and now risen and ascended to the Father’s right hand. You have Jesus’ Word on that. And everything depends on Jesus’ Word. Everything hangs on Jesus.
Time to Eat
Beloved in the Lord, the room is chosen, the table is set, all is ready. It’s time to eat. Cast off the sins which so easily entangle your heart. Repent and believe the gospel. Draw near to your God. He is here for you, to be merciful to you, to love you and forgive you. It’s time to eat. It’s time to drink. Eating and drinking you share in the Lord’s passion. Eating and drinking, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Eating and drinking you gladden your heart with the spoils of the Lord’s victory over sin, death, and hell. For you not only eat bread and sip wine tonight, but you receive the very body and blood of the one sacrificed for you, the body and blood of the one who gifts you with a new covenant. Therefore do not doubt but draw near. Do not delay but repent. Do not be anxious for the Lord has provided the Lamb. Do not fear but rejoice. Do not ignore the desire of the Lord. “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this with you” tonight. Tonight is the night of redemption and when God redeems His people He also feeds His people. The room is chosen, the table is set, all is ready. Let’s eat! AMEN!
The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your heart and mind through faith in Christ Jesus. AMEN!