Sermon for Maundy Thursday – April 1, 2021

+ Maundy Thursday – April 1, 2021 +

Exodus 12:1-14

Beautiful Savior Lutheran

Milton, WA

 

“The New and Better Passover Meal of Meals”

 

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

 

Sometimes a meal is more than a meal. Sometimes the meal takes on a life of its own. On their wedding day, the bride and groom don’t place a bite of that pretty cake in each other’s mouths just for the fun of it. The final meal of a death-row inmate is more than a chance for him to die without hunger pains. And whether you like the dark or light meat or don’t even care for turkey you’ve probably cooked or at least eaten it for Thanksgiving. Eating is often about far more than eating.

 

On their last night in Egypt, during their final hours of slavery, the Israelites partook of a meal that was far more than a meal. A simple menu, really, but nothing was served up by accident. Nothing was chosen for it’s nutritional value or flavor. In fact, one part of the Passover was chosen precisely because of its bad taste. The bitter herbs because the Egyptians had embittered their lives in slavery.

 

Unleavened bread was also part of the meal – unleavened because Pharaoh would release them from bondage before the sun rose, before the yeast had time to raise the dough. It was the bread of affliction and haste, for Israel would leave Egypt in haste before fickle Pharaoh changed his mind. It was a holy fast food of sorts. Israel had to eat and run.

 

The bitter herbs were for remembrance, and the unleavened bread foreshadowed their upcoming hasty exit from Egypt. So too, the main course, the roasted flesh of the sacrificial lamb: that meat also heralded something else, something that was a gift for both the present and the future, the now and the not yet.

 

The now of the roasted meat was the tangible sign that an innocent victim had been killed in their place just a few hours ago. The angelic destroyer who was passing through the land that night would pass over their homes, sparing the firstborn sons. And above and beside the entrance of the homes of faithful Israelites was painted the blood of the Passover lambs. On the night of the Passover, as Israel tasted the meat, they knew that their sons would not taste death.

 

But this main course proclaimed a message that went well beyond that night as well. The whole meal – bitter herbs, unleavened bread, and roasted lamb – was an edible prophecy. Like the prophets who foretold the coming Messiah, this meal was a foretelling that Israel could sink their teeth into. A promise that was a foretaste of the feast to come. To a new and better Passover in Jesus’ body and blood.

 

This meal is definitely more than a meal – an eating that is about far more than eating and drinking that is about far more than drinking. It is a table where the things of earth are lifted up to the things of heaven and the things of heaven are brought down to the things of earth. God comes down into the Egypt of our captivity, not to kill his enemies, but to place into our mouths his own body and blood, given into death to save his enemies, to save us.

 

It may look rather ordinary and plain, just like the original Passover, but this bread and wine are the food of the new and better Passover. Bread. Wine. Nothing a food critic would write a 5-star dining review about on Yelp.

 

This is how our Lord often works, his great works of salvation are disguised in simplicity and humility.

 

Take, eat, this simple bread is his body. It is the body of the Lamb that was not passed over, but passed under the knife. Or, rather, passed under the court of the Sanhedrin, passed under the sentence of Pilate, passed under the whips of the soldiers, passed under the sneers of the crowd, passed under the beams of his cross, passed under all the evil this world could heap upon him. For he also passed under the verdict of his Father, which declared this innocent one guilty for our crimes that we, the guilty ones, might go free.

 

Take, eat, this is the body of God’s own Son, the Lamb. Take, eat, open your mouth and do not be afraid. Taste and see that the Lamb is good, good enough for you and the whole world, so good that in eating his body you become the good that he is. In this meal, you are what you eat.

 

Take, drink, this simple wine is his blood. It is the lifeblood of the Lamb who gave his life for you. He gave it from the alpha of his life to the omega. He gave it as an eight-day old infant, as he shed his blood under the law for you. He gave it in Gethsemane, as he prayed, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless not my will but yours be done” – as he sweat drops of blood. Christ gave his lifeblood when the whips ripped open his flesh, when the thorns pierced his brow, when the nails bore through his hands and feet, and finally when the soldier’s spear broke through the dam of his flesh, unleashing water and blood that fills the font and chalice with Jesus’ life.

 

Take, drink, this is Jesus’ blood. Paint it not on your doorposts or lintel, but on your lips, on your tongue, on your heart, and on your soul, for this blood is the armor of the Almighty, shielding every inch of you from destruction that will overtake this world when the angels carry out God’s judgment. They will pass over you for you have passed under the bleeding side of the Passover Lamb of God.

 

Take, drink, for this is the cup of your salvation, the blood of the Lamb given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.

 

Here, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, is a meal that takes on a life of its own, or, rather, that takes on the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. And in taking this meal into yourself, you take on his life as your own, passing from death to life everlasting.

 

A blessed Maundy Thursday to each of you…

 

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

 

 

 

 

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

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Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977