IN NOMINE JESU
The Lord desires to eat with you. He has set before you His feast. His Supper awaits you. He comes to you this evening as your Host. He served as Host at His last Passover. He desired to eat with them this feast, the last Passover He would eat with them, for He would not drink of the fruit of the vine again until the kingdom of God comes. The last time He drank the cup was there with His disciples in the upper room on the night when He was betrayed. He hosted them that night so that He would usher out the old memorial meal and usher in the new sacramental Supper.
The Lord desires to serve you this evening, serving you the same feast He served His disciples. He gave them what He desires to give you: His very body to eat and His true blood to drink, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Your Lord desires to give you the gift of the forgiveness of sins, that which He won on the cross and gives to you in His Means of Grace.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, did something that had not been done before. He reinterpreted the Passover Seder. The Jews celebrated the Passover, their great feast, as an annual remembrance of God's delivering their forefathers out of Egypt. God gave His people the command to have this feast of remembrance annually. But our Lord, on that first Maundy Thursday evening, took the bread and the final cup from the Passover meal with His disciples and instituted a new meal of remembrance—to which He attached His body and blood and the promise of forgiveness, the promise that is "for you." In this meal we remember our Lord's delivering us from sin, death, and the power of the devil.
It is this same devil that took hold of Judas that also seeks to take hold of you. The old evil foe seeks to work you woe by keeping you from the Lord's Table. He seeks to draw you from the Light of the world into total darkness—the darkness of eternal death, the same darkness that filled the heart of him who betrayed the Son of Man over to the hands of sinners, sinners such as you and me. Even though Judas handed the Lord over to the Romans, we by our sins put Jesus on the cross. Our own sins should have led to our crucifixion, for we were conceived and born in sin and we daily sin much and surely deserve nothing but punishment. We are lost. We are condemned. We are in need of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is the reason why our Lord came into this world, the forgiveness He won on the cross on Good Friday, which we shall remember as the service continues tomorrow at Redeemer, the same forgiveness He gives to us in His feast, the feast of His body and blood, as He gives us according to His own Word. With His Word His body and blood are present in, with, and under the bread and wine. By His Word and Sacrament we are forgiven. We heard Him speak His Word of forgiveness into our ears, and we will shortly taste this forgiveness on our tongue. We will taste and see that the Lord is good. We will soon taste the new covenant He has established with us, for He desires that we be with Him forever.
Our gracious Lord has laid out the terms of His new covenant. He gave His body over to be crucified and He shed His blood on the cross that we may eat and drink of Him and receive full pardon and peace in this Sacrament. He has also spelled out our terms; He has given us His command, His mandate, which is how we got the name for this day: Maundy Thursday. In His terms for us He says: "Take, eat. Take, drink. Do this in remembrance of Me. Do this often, for I want you to be forgiven, to be restored, to be with Me when I drink anew in the kingdom of God. I eagerly desire to give you My gifts, which I won on the cross for you and seek to give you in this holy meal which I instituted for your sake, for My body I gave and My blood I shed for the life of the world—for your life, that you may live it with Me into all eternity in heaven, where I eagerly desire to eat with you at the never-ending Feast."
Until that day, He has given us this foretaste of the feast to come. This sacramental feast is here for you, for your Lord greatly desires to shower you with His forgiveness. Thanks be to God! Amen.
SOLI DEO GLORIA
Send Pastor Mark Schlamann an email.