Friday, April 2, 2010

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

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