Sermon for Maundy Thursday – 4.6.23

+ Maundy Thursday – April 6th, 2023 +

Psalm 143

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church

Milton, WA

 

“Psalm 143: Our Lord’s Passover Psalm”

 

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

 

The heading at the beginning of Psalm 143 is brief. Simple. Straightforward. A Psalm of David.

When David cried out to the Lord for mercy.

When David despaired as enemies pursued him. Perhaps Saul. More likely when his own son, Absalom returned to hunt him down and usurp the throne.

When David was betrayed. Again, most likely by Absalom, his own son.

When David’s very life was in danger, and as if his very life was crushed into the ground.

That’s when David prayed.

 

Hear my prayer, O Lord;
    give ear to my pleas for mercy!
    In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!
Enter not into judgment with your servant,
    for no one living is righteous before you.

For the enemy has pursued my soul;
    he has crushed my life to the ground;
    he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
Therefore my spirit faints within me;
    my heart within me is appalled.

 

Psalm 143 isn’t usually paired with this day in Holy Week, Maundy Thursday. But the more you read this psalm with one ear towards the psalm and another ear towards all that Jesus did, and all that happened to him, on this Holy Thursday, the more Psalm 143 fits well with our Lord’s words and work on Maundy Thursday.

 

Psalm 143 is a Psalm of David. But it is also a Psalm of David’s Son and David’s Lord, the Son of David, Jesus Christ.

 

When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane, when he was hanging on the cross – he prayed. God the Son cried out to God the Father, in agony. For mercy. Yet not my will, but yours be done.

Like David, Jesus knew the pursuit of enemies. Pharisees. Scribes. Elders. Jesus knew what it meant to be hunted and hounded by his own people of his own flesh and blood.

Every Abel has his Cain; every Isaac, his Ishmael; every Jacob, his Esau; and Christ, his Judas who wars against his soul (Luther, vol. 14, p. 197).

Like David, Jesus was betrayed by one of his own, his disciple Judas.

 

As Jesus sat with his disciples celebrating the Passover, instituting the Lord’s Supper, Jesus knew that his very life was in mortal danger, soon to be crushed to the ground under the weight of the Father’s wrath, the judgment of our sin, the very darkness of the pit, like those long dead.

 

With all of that going on, Jesus sat down with his disciples. They reclined at table. They ate together as they had done so many times the past three years. Yet this day, this night, it was different. There’s a gravity to this night. A holiness. A somber, sobering, yet sacred night. A night of God’s grace and gifts.

 

On this night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus…

took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the[c] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 

 

As we ponder, pray, praise, and meditate on these words tonight. On Jesus’ gift to us in his body and blood. On his sacrifice on the cross. On his holy passion. Holy words. Holy body and blood. Psalm 143 gives voice and words to our prayers and songs and meditation.

 

Hear my prayer, O Lord;
    give ear to my pleas for mercy!
    In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!
I stretch out my hands to you;
    my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. 

 

Tonight David’s prayer and Jesus’ prayer is our prayer. Tonight we cry to the Lord for mercy for our sin. And he answers you by stretching out his hand to give you his own flesh to eat and by filling a cup of mercy and giving you his holy, precious blood to drink. my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. And Jesus says to you, take; eat. Take; drink. My body. My blood. Given. Shed. Poured out. For you.

 

Tonight we are in despair for one reason or many. And our Lord Jesus answers your despair with his mighty deliverance.

 

Tonight we are pursued by enemies without – death, the devil, a fallen, wicked world – and we are hounded and hunted from within – our own sinful flesh. And our Lord Jesus pursues all your enemies by letting all our enemies pursue him instead. He is hunted, hounded, betrayed, beaten down, crushed, crucified, died, and buried. For you.

 

Tonight, we pray…

 

Answer me quickly, O Lord!
    My spirit fails!
Hide not your face from me,
    lest I be like those who go down to the pit.
Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
    for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
    for to you I lift up my soul.

Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord!
    I have fled to you for refuge.

 

Tonight we join David in crying out to Jesus, the Son of David, who answers us in his steadfast love at his table, in his word, on the cross, and out of the empty tomb again on Easter Sunday. For in his steadfast love, Christ has cut off all your enemies. Christ has destroyed your adversaries of death, sin, and Satan. For Christ is your servant, at the table, on the cross, and here, tonight. Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of all your sins.

 

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.

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Milton, WA 98354
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