Sunday, April 25, 2010

Easter 4 Isaiah 40:25–31

"And to whom will you compare Me, and I be placed next to?" says the Holy One. "Lift up, on high, your eyes and see: Who created these? The One Who separates out in number, their armies; to all of them, by name, He calls; greatness of strengths and mighty of power: a man is not lacking. Why do you say, Jacob; and you speak, Israel, "Veiled is my way from Yahweh, and from God my judgment is passed over. It is not known to you? If you have not heard? A God, everlasting, is Yahweh–Creator of the ends of the earth! He does not become weary, and He does not become labored. There is no searching into his understanding. Giving to the weary–power, and to the one lacking might–abundant strength. And youths become weary and labored, and young men become weaker and weaker, but those who hope strongly in Yahweh renew power, and they go up wings as eagles. They run and are not labored; they walk and do not become weary."

There are times when you are just wiped out. You feel spent. You've stuggled with problem after problem and your energy is drained. You've done all you can, and you are simply labored-out. You grow weary and tired from everything that you've had to do. You can't do a single thing more, and even if you tried, it simply wouldn't help anyway. You just grow weaker and weaker, and there doesn't seem to be much hope in continuing on. You've reached your wit's end, and want to just give up.

We've all been there, at one time or another. Maybe it was when you were giving birth to your first child, and the labor was so intense that you didn't think you could do it. Perhaps it was a test or project at school that seemed so overwhelming that you thought you'd never complete the task. Or you or a loved one may have had a health problem that seemed insurmountable, and you didn't think you'd ever recover. Whatever the circumstance, you simply ran out of gas, and needed some help!

In the sorrow of feeling over-whelmed, it sure seems like God has abandoned us. But He hasn't. Just as Jesus tells His disciples that they shouldn't sorrow because He physically goes away for a little while, so too you shouldn't feel like God has left you just because Jesus is up in heaven now. For heaven isn't really a place far from you at all! Heaven is wherever God is found, and you know that you have a bit of heaven on earth this morning, with Immanuel, God-with-us in our midst today!

Jesus comes to be with you today in the daily bath of your baptism. It's not a coincidence that all of our worship services begin with the Name into which we are all baptized. This serves as a repeated reminder that God calls you by name, by *His* name, as a baptized child of God. This thought should perk you up a bit, knowing that no matter how weary and tired you become, God, your heavenly Father provides you the strength you lack, His Own almighty power if need be, to see you through anything!

Jesus also renews your strength this day in His word. Your Pastor is privileged to preach from the pulpit the proclamation of God's gospel love in Jesus to you. This message is not the preacher's word, but it is Jesus' Own love delivered to you this day! He loved you so much that with you on His mind, He went to the cross to receive the judgment of death you deserved for your sins; so that, in trade, you get the judgment He deserved by his perfect obedience–life eternal in the paradise of heaven!

Jesus comes to strengthen your weary soul in the spiritual sustenance of the Lord's Supper. In the bread, He gives you His very body which was given unto death at Calvary. In the cup, he gives you His very blood shed for you on Golgotha's hill. He feeds you with Himself so that His omnipotent strength, come down from heaven, may be within you! No longer is your soul weak and weary, but now it is strengthened in the forgiveness and salvation Jesus brings to you in the gifts of Holy Communion.

So you no longer need to sorrow as though you are too overwhelmed to function any longer. Nor do you need to search for some sort of inner strength within you, that isn't really there. You have a Savior Who is God. He never grows weary, weak or tired....well, He did once at the cross. There Jesus bore all your weaknesses in His Own body on the tree. But now He is risen and has ascended to the right hand of His heavenly Father. He is now your source of strength, here and now, and hereafter in eternity! "I come, O Savior, to Thy Table, for weak and weary is my soul; Thou, Bread of Life, alone art able to satisfy and make me whole. Lord, may Thy body and Thy blood, be for my soul the highest good!" Amen.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Easter 3 Good Shepherd Sunday Ezek. 34:11–16

For so says the Lord Yahweh, "Look, and I Myself will care for My sheep and grieve for them. As a shepherd cares for his flock on the day he is in the midst of his scattered sheep, so I will care for my sheep and I will deliver them from all the places which they were scattered there, on a day of clouds and darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and I will gather them from the lands and I will cause them to come to their land, and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the deep streams and in all the dwelling places of the land. In pastures–perfect I will feed them, and on the mountain heights of Israel it will be their pasture. There they will rest in a pasture–perfect, and a fattening pasture they will graze on the mountains of Israel. I, Myself will feed My flock, and I, Myself will cause them to rest," declares the Lord Yahweh. "The lost, I will seek, and the scattered I will return, and to the broken I will bind and the sick I will strengthen; yet the fat and the strong I will exterminate; I will feed them in judgment!

In Ezekiel's day, the shepherds God sent had not been doing a good job. Hundreds of false prophets told people what they wanted to hear–that everything was fine. It wasn't. The leading caste of priests were certain that their work in the Temple would continue on in perpetuity. It wouldn't. The kings were confident that God approved of their negligent rule. He wasn't. So God allowed them to go into captivity in Babylon for 70 years...but not without hope. He promised to send them a new Shepherd.

This new Shepherd would not be like the others. A time would come when God, Himself would be their Good Shepherd! He had grieved over Israel's plight when they had poor shepherds who refused to guide them in His way. So He chose to come down from heaven one day to Shepherd them Himself, directly! That's where Jesus comes in. He is God in the flesh, come down to be the Good Shepherd Who cares for His sheep and delivers them. He brings us, His flock, to a perfect pasture.

But how He gets us there is worthy of our consideration. As sheep, we aren't always very compliant. He wants us to lie down and rest in His perfect pasture, but sometimes we just don't want to do that. A shepherd sometimes had to take his rod or staff and whack the legs of a non-compliant sheep to get it to lie down. God does the same for you at times. To stop you from missing out on the perfect pasture of God, His harsh Law may cut you down, and humble you, stopping your defiance.

Then you find that Jesus has brought you to rest in the still waters of Baptism, where you may drink the living water He offers. You have sinned, and this water cleanses you of all your iniquities. You have thirsted for the righteousness you lack, and Jesus satisfies your soul in the deep streams of His holy righteousness given to you at the font. There, from the cross, He fills you up and restores your soul.

As sheep, we also tend to wander away from God, our Shepherd. You may find yourself following after the peoples of this world into which you have become scattered. The world's ways are cloudy, dark, and downright scary. You have strayed and gone the wrong way. You need to get back to God, but you find that it is impossible to find Him on your own. You can't seek Him. You are desperate.

So Jesus, your Good Shepherd, takes the initiative. He seeks for you, since you are the one who is lost. He finds you and gathers you back to the sheep-fold of His church. Though you were scattered far from Him, He has returned you to Himself. This is repentance. Not your effort, but God's work to convict you of your sinful straying, and to convince you of Jesus' rescue. You confess your straying to God, and in His name, you are forgiven of this and of all your sins, Absolutely!

As sheep, we get hungry, but have trouble finding good pastures. You look for what seems good, or what feels satisfying. But when you try to digest such things, you find that they are very unhealthy! You become broken and sick. Tempted by the tasty treats this sinful world offers, you soon find that you are no longer strong, no longer fat, no longer healthy. So you keep looking for more appealing pastures, yet end up even more unhealthy.

So Jesus, your Good Shepherd brings you to His perfect pasture. He wants you to graze on the food He provides there. He feeds you, His flock, with the soul-fattening food of His body, given for you. He gives you His blood shed for you to drink in the cup of Holy Communion. This is the perfect pasture God has come in the flesh to provide to you! He Himself feeds His flock with Himself in the Lord's Supper. Jesus shepherds you in His word of forgiveness proclaimed, and in His sacraments given.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Easter 2 Quasimodo Geniti Ezekiel 37:1-14

And the hand of Yahweh was upon me and He brought me out in the Spirit of Yahweh and He set me down in the midst of the valley, and it was full of bones...and look, they were very dry. And He said to me, "Son of Adam, may these bones live?" And I said, "Lord Yahweh, You know." And He said to me, "Prophesy on these bones and say to them, ‘Bones of dryness, hear the Word of Yahweh!' So says Lord Yahweh to these bones, ‘Look I Myself will cause to come into you breath, and you may live! ...and you will know that I, Myself am Yahweh." And I prophesied as which I was ordered, and there was a voice as I prophesied, and look–shaking, and joined together bone to bone. And I saw, and look, on them sinews, and flesh came up, and skin on them again from above; yet there was no breath in them. And He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy son of Adam, and say to the breath, ‘So says Lord Yahweh, "From the four winds come, breath, and breathe on these slain, and they may live."' And I prophesied as which I was ordered, and came into them the breath, and they were made to live, and they stood on their feet, an army, very, very great!

One important Easter fact to remember: God and Life are inseparable! Death cannot win, where God is concerned. Oh, that doesn't mean that God doesn't permit death. He does. He even embraced it for Himself at the cross. But though death may come, it is never the end of the story. Some of your loved ones have died. You may soon die yourself. But that's nothing final. For God and Life are always together. If anyone dies in Christ, he or she still lives! Just as Jesus died, yet rose and still lives on!

Back in the days of the Babylonian captivity, it seemed like all hope was lost for the Israelites. Nebuchadnezzar's armies had flattened the walls of Jerusalem, demolished their temple, and took them captive in Babylon. There they faced lions' dens, fiery furnaces, and threat of utter annihilation. It surely looked like death, not life, would win the day. They surely felt like they were already dead, nothing but dry bone carcasses in the hot Middle Eastern sun. But they weren't dead yet!

The Lord Yahweh would rescue them from Babylon, save them from their captors, and return them to the land of Israel once more. In the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, God did just that for His people. But that was only part of the promise of Ezekiel's prophesy to the dry bones. Sure, they got to go back to the earthly promised land, but eventually they did still die, and nothing but their bones were left in their graves. The Lord Yahweh had one more rescue in mind for them...and for you too!

Fast forward to the week after Jesus rose from death to life again. Doubting Thomas doesn't believe it could be true. Sure, Jesus had saved others by raising them from the dead, but now that Jesus Himself had died, who would raise Him? Surely a dead Savior can't raise Himself to life...or can he?! God and life are inseparable, remember... The very Jesus Who was crucified and buried indeed did raise Himself to life again, and showed himself to His disciples, including no-longer-doubting Thomas.

Though death was necessary for the saving sacrifice of Jesus on the cross in your place, death did not get the last laugh. Jesus raised His body, and descended with it into hell to spoil whatever evil "God is dead" party Satan was hosting there. Then He showed it to His disciples as proof positive that His death at Calvary had indeed conquered death, once and for all. He made resurrection appearances to hundreds of believers to show them that there is nothing at all to fear in death any longer!

God and Life cannot be separated, even today! That's why, when you gather round the Lord's Table to eat Jesus' body given and to drink His shed blood, you know that your God Jesus is there to bless you. And you are not cannibals, eating dead food, but it is the risen Lord Jesus who comes down to feed you at Holy Communion. His ever-living body is given to you, and life-giving blood is yours! Your God is there, breathing His breath of life on you in the forgiveness He brings in this sacrament of life!

Where God is, there life is as well! Where God comes down in the waters and words of baptism to cleanse you of your sin and its wages of death, there the ever-living Jesus is to give you life everlasting! Where God's word is taught in its truth and purity, and where His gospel is preached as your Savior's unending love for you from Calvary, there too is Jesus, proclaiming life eternal to you! Where the body and blood of your living Redeemer come to you in the Sacrament of the Altar, there life is for you!

God and Life are never separated for you! Even in God's death for you at the cross, you receive the riches of Jesus victory over sin, Satan, and death there–the gift of life eternal purchased in full for you there!

Hymns from LSB:
#726 Evening and Morning
#470 O Sons and Daughters of The King music stanzas
#467 Awake My Heart with Gladness


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Sunday

If only, then, and my utterances were recorded; if only in a book, and they were inscribed. On a pen of iron and lead, for always, in stone, engraved. And I, myself know my Kinsman-Redeemer lives; and afterward on the earth He will arise. And after my skin is cut off, yet from my flesh I will see God; Whom I myself will look upon Him. And my eyes will see, and not another's. My heart yearns in my bosom.

He is Risen! If there ever was someone who needed some raising up, it was Job. He lost just about everything. He lost all his animals. He lost most of his servants. He lost all of his children. He even lost his health. Job was dying. Even his friends heaped blame on him. Job would have been a limbo champion, since no one could go as low as he had sunk. He lost almost everything, except for his nagging wife who wished he would just curse God and die already. Job was low, low, low.

What Job didn't realize is that he wasn't as low as low could go. Neither are you, no matter how bad off you are. Things can always get worse, this side of heaven. I know there are times in your life when you've been depressed, and thought that you were at rock bottom. You weren't. For even if they took your goods, your fame, your children, your spouse, and even your life, there's one thing that remains. The Kingdom of God, and all its riches! That's yours no matter what happens here!

But there was One Who went lower than you've ever been. One Man sunk even lower than Job ever did. He was the Kinsman-Redeemer Job prophesied about. Jesus suffered like Job in that His friends abandoned Him in His hour of need, his family didn't defend Him, and he lost everything, even His clothes, as He was tried, convicted & sentenced to die for crimes He didn't commit. But He sunk even lower than that. Jesus was forsaken by His Heavenly Father. Instead of heaven, He suffered hell...

Separated from God the Father's love, (for that's what Hell is, really), Jesus breathed His last and died. He was shut up in a sealed tomb, presumably to rot there. But God the Father would not let His holy One see decay. Job foresaw this. He knew that His Redeemer wouldn't stay dead in that tomb. He prophesied that His Redeemer would live, and that Jesus would rise to stand again on the dust of the earth. And Jesus fulfilled this scripture from Job's mouth, rising to life again that 1st Easter Day!

Now, you might think, "Big deal, so God raised Himself to life again. Good for Him! But what's in it for me?" It is a Big Deal not just for Him, but for Job, and for you as well! Job realized this. He knew that because His Redeemer would one day rise, so too would He! Although Job knew he would one day die and decay, that didn't bother him. Because He also knew that after all of that, in His flesh He would see God, face to face. He knew that His own eyeballs would gaze upon God his Redeemer.

The same is true for you! Although you may die one day and be buried 6 feet under to decay, that's not the end of your story. On the Last Day, your Savior Jesus will return to this earth, and raise you and all the dead, and give to you and all believers life eternal! He will remake your now vile body into a glorious body on that day! Your former body of age, illness, weakness & decay will be perfected. I hear that there's a chance I will even be "good-looking" come Judgment Day!

Job's heart yearned in his bosom over that thought! He couldn't wait till his vile body of illness was replaced with a new body of flesh that would never decay. Your heart, by faith, yearns for the same blessing one day. But in the meantime, you body of sinful flesh comes to be where you know God is, in His word proclaimed which forgives you all your sins, and in the sacraments of baptism and holy communion, which connect you to Jesus Who died and rose for your salvation and justification.

This thought was so very important to Job that he wished it could be inscribed permanently, so that this Word of God's promise would last forever. God wanted that to, so He included it in Holy Scripture. Others have felt the same way, one setting Job's words to music so they could be sung in the hymn:

"I know that my Redeemer lives! What comfort this sweet sentence gives. He lives, He lives, Who once was dead. He lives my ever-living Head! He lives and grants me daily breath; He lives, and I shall conquer death; He lives my mansion to prepare; He lives to bring me safely there. He lives triumphant from the grave, He lives eternally to save...Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives: I know that my Redeemer lives!" Amen.

Hymns for today from LSB:
#457 Jesus Christ is Risen Today

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!

Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly king, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!

But the pains which he endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation have procured; Alleluia!
Now above the sky he’s king, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing. Alleluia!

Sing we to our God above, Alleluia!
Praise eternal as his love; Alleluia!
Praise him, all you heavenly host, Alleluia!
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Alleluia!

#475 Good Christian Friends, Rejoice and Sing

"Good Christian men, rejoice and sing!
Now is the triumph of our King!
To all the world glad news we bring: Alleluia!"

"The Lord of Life is risen for aye;
Bring flowers of song to strew His way.
Let all mankind rejoice and say: Alleluia!"

"Praise we in songs of victory
That Love, that Life which cannot die,
And sing with hearts uplifted high: Alleluia!"

"Thy name we bless, O risen Lord,
And sing today with one accord
The Life laid down, the Life restored: Alleluia!"

#458 Christ Jesus Lay in Death's Strong Bands

#489 Hail Thee Festival Day


Hail thee, festival day!
Blessed day to be hallowed forever;
Day when our Lord was raised,
Breaking the kingdom of death.

Lo, the fair beauty of the earth,
From the death of the winter arising!
Every good gift of the year
Now with its Master returns.


Rise from the grave now, O Lord,
The author of life and creation.
Treading the pathway of death,
New life You give to us all.

God the Almighty Lord,
The Ruler of earth and the heavens,
Guard us from harm without;
Cleanse us from evil within.

Jesus the health of the world,
Enlighten our minds, great Redeemer,
Son of the Father supreme,
Only begotten of God.

Spirit of life and of power,
Now flow in us, fount of our being,
Light that enlightens us all,
Life that in all may abide.

Praise to the giver of good!
O lover and author of concord,
Pour out your balm on our days;
Order our ways in your peace.

#463 Christ the Lord is Risen Today; Alleluia

Christ the Lord is risen today; Alleluia!
Christian, hasten on your way; Alleluia!
Offer praise with love replete, Alleluia!
At the paschal victim’s feet. Alleluia!

For the sheep the Lamb has bled, Alleluia!
Sinless in the sinner’s stead. Alleluia!
Christ the Lord is risen on high; Alleluia!
Now he lives, no more to die. Alleluia!

Hail, the victim undefiled, Alleluia!
God and sinners reconciled, Alleluia!
When contending death and life, Alleluia!
Met in strange and awesome strife. Alleluia!

Christians, on this holy day, Alleluia!
All your grateful homage pay; Alleluia!
Christ the Lord is risen on high; Alleluia!
Now he lives, no more to die. Alleluia!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday Tres Ore

+ The Seven Words of Jesus from the cross +

This is the hub of a 3 day (triduum) worship service. It has no beginning invocation or ending benediction.

+ Calvary: Introduction

+ Hymn: "Upon the Cross Extended" LBW453


Christ was put to death as though He was a sinner, like you and me--but He was not. He was crucified for crimes He did not commit, yet justly so, since He willingly allowed the sin of all the world to be imputed into Him–in this he offered forgiveness to his tormentors, if only by faith they would receive it...

+ Hymn From Calvary's Cross... (Stanza 1) LW108
From Calvary's cross I heard Christ say
"Father, Forgive these men, for they
for they in truth know not what they do."
Forgive us too for often we in ignorance offend you.

+ The First Word: Luke 23:34

+ Extinguishing of the first light & meditation

+ Hymn "Jesus in Your Dying Woes" Part I (Stanzas 1-3) #447
Jesus, in your dying woes,
Even while your lifeblood flows,
Craving pardon from your foes:
Hear us, holy Jesus.

Savior, for our pardon sue
When our sins your pangs renew,
For we know not what we do:
Hear us, holy Jesus.

Oh, may we, who mercy need,
Be like you in heart and deed,
When with wrong our spirits bleed:
Hear us, holy Jesus.

+ Calvary: On the Cross

+ Hymn: "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded" LSB 450



Christ Jesus was rebuked by all, even the two thieves crucified with him--yet He would not answer their taunts. One thief repented--and Jesus offers that day to his soul, paradise!...

+ Hymn "From Calvary's Cross..." LW108

Now to the contrite theif He cries:
"You, truly, will in paradise meet me before tomorrow."
Lord, take us soon to heaven with You, who linger here in sorrow.

+ The Second Word: Luke 23:39-43

+ Extinguishing of the second light & meditation

+ Hymn "Jesus in Your Dying Woes" Part II (Stanzas 4-6) #447

Jesus, pitying the sighs
Of the thief, who near you dies,
Promising him paradise:
Hear us, holy Jesus.

May we in our guilt and shame
Still your love and mercy claim,
Calling humbly on your name:
Hear us, holy Jesus.

May our hearts to you incline
And their thoughts your cross entwine.
Cheer our souls with hope divine:
Hear us, holy Jesus.


Jesus must have felt totally humiliated, hanging on the cross in shame before his family and friends--yet His concern was not for himself, but for His own mother and friend...

+ Hymn "From Calvary's Cross..." (Stanza 3) LW108
To weeping Mary standing by
"Behold your son," we hear Him cry;
to John, "Behold, your mother."
So when we die, let those we leave
in love befriend each other.

+ The Third Word: John 19:25-27

+ Extinguishing of the third light & meditation

+ Hymn "Jesus in Your Dying Woes" Part III (Stanzas 7-9) #447

Jesus, loving to the end
Her whose heart your sorrows rend,
And your dearest human friend:
Hear us, holy Jesus.

May we in your sorrows share,
For your sake all peril dare,
And enjoy your tender care:
Hear us, holy Jesus.

May we all your loved ones be,
All one holy family,
Loving, since your love we see:
Hear us, holy Jesus.



His friends abandoned Him in His hour of great need--surely His Father in Heaven would remain to comfort Him. He was perfect--what anger could God have against Him? Yet, what if God and His mercy should leave Jesus completely?...

+ Hymn "From Calvary's Cross..." (Stanza 4) LW108

The fourth, "My God, My God, oh why
do you not hear my earnest cry?"
Lord, You were here forsaken
That we may never be so lost;
Let lively faith awaken.

+ The Fifth Word: Matthew 27:46-47

+ Extinguishing of the fifth light & meditation

+ Hymn "Jesus in Your Dying Woes" Part V (Stanzas 13-15) #447

Jesus, whelmed in fears unknown,
With our evil left alone,
While no light from heaven is shown:
Hear us, holy Jesus.

When we seem in vain to pray
And our hope seems far away,
In the darkness be our stay:
Hear us, holy Jesus.

Though no Father seem to hear,
Though no light our spirits cheer,
May we know that God’s is near:
Hear us, holy Jesus.



Jesus, the Christ, came into the flesh for just this moment...and even on the cross He shows us his humanity. He who came to offer "living water" earnestly desired a drink to wet his lips...and to fulfil the words of scripture...

+ Hymn "From Calvary's Cross..." (Stanza 5) LW108
The Savior's fifth word was, "I thirst!"
O Mighty Prince of Life, your thirst
yearns for myfull salvation.
Your love, your mercy's sacrifice
Compel my adoration.

+ The Fourth Word: John 19:28-29

+ Extinguishing of the fourth light & meditation

+ Hymn "Jesus in Your Dying Woes" Part IV (Stanzas 10-12) #447

Jesus, in your thirst and pain,
While you wounds your lifeblood drain,
Thirsting more our love to gain:
Hear us, holy Jesus.

Thirst for us in mercy still;
All your holy work fulfill;
Satisfy your loving will:
Hear us, holy Jesus.

May we thirst your love to know;
Lead us in our sin and woe
Where the healing waters flow:
Hear us, holy Jesus.


The task accomplished, Christ Jesus fulfilled the law completely--as we never could. He was a perfect sacrifice of sin--taking on Himself the punishment we fully deserved, that we receive the glories of heaven He earned for us...

+ Hymn "From Calvary's Cross..." (Stanza 6) LW108
With "It is finished!" You have done,
The course Your Father set is run, the victory achieving.
For us now do Your work on earth. Your promises believing.

+ The Sixth Word: John 19:30

+ Extinguishing of the sixth light & meditation

+ Hymn "Jesus in Your Dying Woes" Part VI (Stanzas 16-18) #447

Jesus, all our ransom paid,
All your Father’s will obeyed;
By your sufferings perfect made:
Hear us, holy Jesus.

Save us in our soul’s distress;
Be our help to cheer and bless
While we grow in holiness:
Hear us, holy Jesus.

Brighten all our heavenward way
With an ever holier ray
Till we pass to perfect day:
Hear us, holy Jesus.



In control to the end, Jesus voluntarily gives up His Spirit to His Father in Heaven--even though He has abandoned His Son. Christ, our Lord, places Himself in the Father's hands with Scripture on His lips, submitting to His wrath out of love for us...

+ Hymn "From Calvary's Cross..." (Stanza 7) LW108
At last, as light and suffering end;
"O God, My Father, I commend into Your hands My Spirit."
Be this, Dear Lord, my dying prayer: O Gracious Father hear it.

+ The Seventh Word: Luke 23:46a, Mark 15:37

+ Extinguishing of the eternal light & meditation

+ Hymn "Jesus in Your Dying Woes" Part VII (Stanzas 19-21) #447

Jesus, all your labor vast,
All your woe and conflict past,
Yielding up your soul at last:
Hear us, holy Jesus.

When the death shades round us lower,
Guard us from the tempter’s power,
Keep us in that trial hour:
Hear us, holy Jesus.

May your life and death supply
Grace to live and grace to die,
Grace to reach the home on high:
Hear us, holy Jesus.


+ Calvary: Conclusion

+ The Reproaches

+ Hymn: "Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted" #451 or "Sing My Tongue, the Glorious Battle #454

+ The Bidding Prayer (LW p. 276; response to each petition: "Amen!")

+ The Lord's Prayer

+ "From Calvary's Cross..." (Stanza 8) LW108
Our Lord thus spoke these seven times when on His Cross, for all our crimes
He died that we not perish.
Let us His last dying Words in our remembrance cherish.

+ Closing of the Book

+ Silent Departure

Maundy Thursday Exodus 12:1-14

Speak to all the assembly of Israel, saying, "On the 10th of this month, and they will take to them (each) man, a lamb to the house of their fathers, a lamb to the house. And if the house has too few for having a lamb, and he and his neighbor, the one nearest to his house, take according to the number of souls, (as) a man in his mouth eats, you figure on the lamb. A lamb, unblemished, male, son of a year it will be, to you from the sheep or from the goats you may take. And it will be for you to guard until the 14th day of this month, and they will kill it, all the company of the assembly of Israel, between the evenings. And they will take from the blood and they will give it on the two doorposts and on the top beam over their houses which they eat it. And they will eat the body on that night, fire-roasted, and matzo bread and also bitter herbs they will eat... And so you will eat, your mid-section belted, on your feet your sandals, and your staff in your hand; and you will eat it in haste–it is the Passover to Yahweh. And I will go over, on the land of Egypt, on that night, and I will strike all the first-born in the land of Egypt, from man and upon animal, and on all the gods of Egypt, I will make judgment, I–Yahweh. And the blood will be, to you, a sign on the houses which you are there; and I will see the blood, and I will pass over, and a plague will not happen to you to destruction, in my striking in the land of Egypt. And this day will be to you in remembrance, and you will celebrate it–a feast to Yahweh...

I preach tonight on the one and only question I got wrong in my theological interview for becoming a Pastor. The professor asked, "What is the Old Testament referent for the Lord's Supper?" My mind went blank. The answer was simple. Jesus and His disciples were gathered to celebrate the *Passover* meal. Duh? This Old Testament feast set the stage for what Jesus was giving to His church at the Last Supper. That first Maundy Thursday, Jesus was offering Himself as the Lamb struck down in death to spare Israel.

The first thing we notice about the Passover is the Lamb. It had to be male. It had to be unblemished, spotless. It's offering had to be the first and best, like Abel's. It could not be like Cain's second-best left overs. It couldn't even be like our shoddy offerings to God, where we fail to tithe or to prioritize what we give to the Lord's church. The lamb was then sacrificed. It was killed in place of the Israelites.

Jesus is the Lamb of God. He is the only One Who kept God's commandments perfectly. He alone is spotless and without blemish on His record. He is a perfect offering to God. He, like a lamb led to slaughter is silent, not defending Himself, but giving Himself up to death for you. In your place, on the Cross of Calvary, Jesus dies the death you deserved, so that you now live the life He earned. Heaven!

The next thing that catches our attention is the plague of death. God visits with death, all who have not listened to His word in Egypt. You know that there are times you yourselves haven't listened to God like you should. You make excuses to avoid worship services and opportunities to study God's word. Would you have listened to God and heeded His word to avoid a visit from the angel of death?

Death must come as a punishment for sin; for each and every sin. The plague of death came on a substitute lamb at Passover. It comes also to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Jesus took your sins upon His body on the tree. He Who knew no sin, became your sin, and took your place of punishment. Your sins are now forgiven, washed clean from you in Holy Baptism!

One more thing we note is the Passover meal. Hastily baked bread, bitter herbs, and the body of the sacrificed Lamb were eaten. Not the most pleasant of meals. No doubt you prefer to go out to a restaurant and choose from the choicest of things offered on the buffet or menu. But at least they didn't have to drink the blood. That they could give to mark the doorposts and lintel above the door.

Notice, there is no mention of eating the passover lamb at the Last Supper. Jesus Himself replaces that lamb. Instead of you eating a lamb's flesh, Jesus offers His Own body in the bread for you to eat. Instead of you giving lamb's blood to mark doorposts and lintel, Jesus gives you His very blood to drink in communion. He feeds you with these for your forgiveness, eternal life, and everlasting salvation.

The Old Testament Passover meal is the referent for Maundy Thursday, a type of the Lord's Supper. For in the Sacrament of the Altar, which Jesus instituted this night, your own passover from death to life is effected. You celebrate tonight together in communion with faithful believers, but also with angels, saints, and all the company of heaven; in Christ Jesus' everlasting remembrance of your salvation.

Hymns from LSB:
#617 O Lord We Praise Thee

O Lord, we praise you, bless you, and adore you,
In thanksgiving bow before you.
Here with your body and your blood you nourish
Our weak souls that they may flourish.
O Lord, have mercy!

May your body, Lord, born of Mary,
That our sins and sorrows did carry,
And you blood for us plead
In all trial, fear, and need:
O Lord, have mercy!

Your holy body into death was given,
Life to win for us in heaven.
No greater love than this to you could bind us;
May this feast of that remind us!
O Lord, have mercy!

Lord, your kindness so much did move you
That your blood now moves us to love you.
All our debt you have paid;
Peace with God one more is made.
O Lord, have mercy!

May God bestow on us his grace and favor
To please him with our behavior
And live together here in love and union
Nor repent this blest communion.
O Lord, have mercy!

Let not your good Spirit forsake us,
But that heavenly minded he make us;
Give you Church, Lord, to see
Days of Peace and unity.
O Lord, have mercy!

Hymn # 238 from Lutheran Worship
Author: Johann Walter
Tune: Gott Sei Gelobet Und Gebenedeiet
1st Published in: 1523

#627 Jesus Christ Our Blessed Savior (lyrics and music at link)
John Hus