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Maundy Thursday Preachment

by pastorjuhl ~ March 20th, 2008

Text is St. John 13:1-15

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit

The Words of Institution are concentrated Gospel. We should cling to them in every trial and temptation. Perhaps the greatest temptation we suffer concerning the Lord’s Supper is doubt. Am I sure that Christ’s Body and Blood deliver forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation? How can bread and wine do such great things?

The disciples doubted what Jesus did in the Upper Room during their Passover celebration. No master would ever think of taking up a towel, shedding his outer garment, and wash the feet of his guests. That’s a servant’s job. Something isn’t right here.

Jesus explains everything when He says, If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. That’s the Maundy of Maundy Thursday. Maundy comes from the word mandate. A mandate is a clear and overwhelming message. The mandate Jesus sets before them, and us, is love.

Jesus takes bread, breaks it, and passes it around the table. While His disciples pass the bread, Jesus says, This is My Body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of me. Jesus did the same thing with the cup. As the cup was passed, Jesus says, This cup is the New Testament in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. Our minds cannot get over how bread can be Jesus’ Body and wine can be Jesus’ Blood. We do mental somersaults trying to figure it out. If we have problems understanding our Lord’s Words, how do you think the disciples are doing trying to understand what going on here?

That’s where things fall apart for many Christians. We try to over-examine the Lord’s Supper and explain what Jesus does for us in a way that is convenient for us. We don’t take time to listen to what Jesus is saying. We focus on what we think His intent might be.

When we come to the Lord’s Supper knowing that Christ’s love goes in us, but we leave His altar refusing to love one another as He first loved us, then we eat and drink the Lord’s Body and Blood in an unworthy manner. When we treat our Lord’s Words irreverently or treat the Lord’s Body and Blood irreverently, then we eat and drink the Lord’s Body and Blood in an unworthy manner.

The disciples have a heavy dose of doubt right about now. Jesus puts an end to their doubt by living out the mandate of love. He allows Himself to be arrested, convicted, and sentenced to die. His body is nailed to a cross. His blood begins to pour from His hands and feet. After He dies, blood and water pour from His pierced side. Then it all clicks into place.

The love of God in Christ Jesus is a love stronger than death. We know this to be true because the mandate was passed on to us as it was passed on to those before us. The mandate was passed on to Saint Paul too. He received it. He didn’t think it up. Neither did the disciples. They received it from Jesus. As we receive the mandate, so we pass it on down to those who come after us. The mandate is clear. Christ’s love is in His True Body and True Blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.

What a loving thing Jesus does for His disciples and for you and me too. He gives us a Supper to remember His Passion. More importantly, He gives us the benefits of His death in earthly things: the Word, bread, and wine. Saint Paul passes down what was passed down to him first: For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

The Lord’s Supper is edible preaching. Jesus gives you an example of His love, His mandate, by putting His mandate to something, bread and wine, and putting it in something, our mouths. He washes us, He feeds us, and He loves us to the end…and to eternity. No greater love than this to Thee could bind us; / May this feast thereof remind us! / O Lord, have mercy.

And He does. No doubt about it.

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit

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