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Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!

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Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Passover Lamb “Given For You” - Maundy Thursday - April 17, 2014 - Text: Luke 22:14-20

Our text is Luke 22:14-20: 14And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. 15And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. This is our text.
 
Our theme for this year focuses our attention on the main character of the Passion, even the main character throughout the history of Israel and the Christian Church, the Lamb. We began with the promise of a Savior and the first sacrifice made to clothe Adam and Eve. We followed God’s giving of the sacrificial system as a way of reminding people that the price for sin is death, that blood had to be shed. We saw the lamb as the main character pointing us toward the One Lamb of God and His once and for all sacrifice on the cross. We witnessed Jesus giving us His Holy Supper wherein He gives us His body and blood to eat and drink, thus participating in His life and His death. We witnessed and participated in His resurrection foreshadowing our own resurrection to eternal life where He will welcome us into His heavenly home and robe us with His robes of righteousness.
 
This evening, this Maundy Thursday evening we once again celebrate the first Passover celebration and we watch as Jesus connects that celebration and gives us out of the celebration what we have today in His Holy Supper, the Lord’s Supper. As you may recall, the first part of the Passover was to select an unblemished lamb which was to be set aside later to be slaughtered.
 
The lamb was to be chosen on the tenth day of the month and on the fourteenth day of the month it was to be slaughtered. The blood of the lamb was to be kept and brushed on the door post and lintel of the house. This blood of the lamb marked the house so that the angel of death would pass over the house and not kill the firstborn in the house.
    And the lamb was to be eaten be the family or two families if the family was too small for one lamb. All the lamb was to be eaten. If any lamb remained until morning it was to be burned up completely in the fire.
 
Fast forward to the New Testament and Jesus. Being the good Jewish man that He was, Jesus custom was to celebrate the Passover. And Jesus did celebrate the Passover until the last Passover He celebrated on earth and that was that Maundy Thursday when He took from the Passover and gave us His Holy Supper. Jesus sent His disciples to prepare the Passover Seder. And by the way, He sent them to prepare the Passover in the Upper Room, the katalooma that we heard about at Christmas, that there was no room in the upper room, the guest room, the katalooma for Mary and Joseph so that Jesus was born in the main part of the house where the family and the animals lived.
 
Continuing on, during the celebration of the Passover Seder the middle matzah was broken, hidden and later found. This middle matzah that was broken and hidden reminds us of Jesus by whose stripes we are healed, who was broken, pierced and buried, but after three days rose from the dead.
 
When it was time to eat the middle matzah, Jesus takes the bread, blesses it, breaks it and distributes it to His disciples. But Jesus does not simply bless, break and distribute the bread. Instead, He took bread and said this is my body. So now, according to Jesus’ own word, He has bread that He is distributing as His body.
 
A little later during the Passover meal, Jesus takes the third cup of wine, the cup of redemption. He blesses the cup of wine and the distributes it to His disciples. But, again, Jesus does not simply bless and distribute the wine. Instead, He took the cup of wine and said this is my blood. So now, according to Jesus’ own word, He has a cup of wine that He is distributing as His blood.
 
What is the significance of this Passover meal turned Lord’s Supper? This meal is not simply a symbol, a re-enactment, but it is a sacred act, a sacrament, a means through which Jesus gives us the gifts He earned on Calvary, distributing forgiveness of sins through bread and wine, and His body and blood, given and shed for us for the forgiveness of sins.
 
In the original Passover, the lamb was chosen, set aside, and slaughtered. The blood was painted on door post and lintel to mark the house so that when the angel of death passed over the country of Egypt and Goshen, the angel of death would passes over those houses that were marked with the blood, not killing the firstborn son in those houses, but sparing them.
 
Jesus is the Lamb of God who was conceived and born in perfection, conceived by the Holy Spirit making Him truly God and born of the human woman, the virgin Mary making Him truly human. Jesus was perfect and holy, chosen and set aside from before the foundation of the world were set. At just the right time He was slaughtered, He was crucified on the cross. He shed His blood so that all who believe in Jesus are marked with His blood. Now and on our day of judgement, when the angel of eternal spiritual death would have us, when Satan would have us, he sees that we are marked with the blood of the Lamb of God and he will have to pass over us, leaving us to eternal life with Jesus.
 
At the time of His death, on that first Maundy Thursday, as He was celebrating the Passover Seder with His disciples, He gives us His Holy Supper, the Lord’s Supper. From the Passover our Lord gives us the bread to eat and the wine to drink. From the Passover we no longer need to make any bloody sacrifice because Jesus is the Lamb of God to which all the other sacrifices pointed. From the original Passover Jesus gives us a new sacrament, not simply a rite nor a symbolic act which we should obediently re-enact, but He gives us His body and blood, in with and under the bread and wine for us to eat and drink and thus for us to participation in Him, in His life, death and resurrection. As we eat His body and drink His blood we are marked with Jesus. His perfect life becomes our perfect life. His horrible death becomes our horrible death and His glorious resurrection becomes our glorious resurrection.
 
What does this mean? This means that although forgiveness was earned, won and paid for on Calvary, it is not distributed on Calvary, nor is it usually distributed directly, rather it is distributed through the means of grace. Through the means, the ways the Lord gives to give us His gifts and blessings, namely through Holy Baptism we are given faith, forgiveness and eternal life and this normally happens at the beginning of our lives as infants. Through confession and absolution, as we come to the Lord’s house, not denying, not holding back, but confessing our sins. When we fail to confess our sins we indeed hold on to them and they remain unforgiven. But when we confess our sins God who is faithful and just does and has already forgiven our sins.
 
When we read and hear God’s Word, such as when we have private reading of God’s Word, when we have private and family devotions, when we attend Bible Class and Sunday School and most especially when we come to the Lord’s house and hear His word, His word does and gives what it says. When God’s Word says we have faith, then rest assured we have faith. When God’s Word says we have forgiveness of sins then we can rest assured we have forgiveness of sins. When God’s Word says we have life, even eternal life then we can rest assured we have life even eternal life.
 
And when we come to the Lord’s Table, to His Holy Supper, to the Lord’s Supper, as we eat His body, in, with and under the bread and as we drink His blood, in, with and under the cup of wine, then we are remembering, we are participating in His death and resurrection and the gifts He earned through His death and resurrection become our gifts, most especially forgiveness of sins. Of course we know that where there is forgiveness there is life and salvation. All God’s gifts then are distributed through the means of grace.
 
The Lord’s Supper is just that, the Lord’s Supper. He is the host. He is the meal. He is the one who suffered, died, won, paid for our sins and earned our forgiveness and at His meal He is the one who distributes and gives to us the gifts He has won for us, forgiveness of sins. As we come to the Lord’s Table we are given His body and His blood with the words, “given for you, for the forgiveness of sins.” Our response is simply Amen, God is faithful, this is true, thanks be to God and to Him be the glory for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

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