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Maundy Thursday (Third Commandment / Mark 14:12-26)

April 5, 2012

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Maundy Thursday

5 April 2012


Third Commandment:  Remember the Sabbath Day by Keeping It


Bible Narrative:  Mark 14:12-26


God made the Sabbath Day holy.  That’s a given.  That’s Genesis 2!  And yet the Commandment:  Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy!


What’s up with that?  Here’s the deal!  “God wants it to be holy for you.”[1]  The Sabbath Day is holy in itself but in the Third  Commandment God wants it to be holy FOR YOU!  Incredible! 


How then is the Sabbath Day kept holy FOR YOU?  The answer is this:  “when … [you] make use of God’s Word and exercise … [yourselves] in it.”[2]  The Sabbath is about you being all ears!  Being all ears to God’s Word!  I.E. it is about hearing God’s Word!


For in, with, and under His Word God talks.  God speaks.  God speaks to you through Jesus the Word made flesh!  And He speaks to you through His written Word – the Bible.  The Bible, as God’s Word is to be preached, taught, and pondered!  God’s Word is to be HEARD WITH YOUR EARS! 


It is to be heard because God’s Word is a living, dynamic, vigorous, energetic, efficacious Holy Spirit-filled act of speech!  God’s Word is vibrant and all creative.  “Let there be light!”  “Be fruitful and multiply!”  “Lazarus, come out!”  “I baptize you in the Name …”   The Lord’s Word proclaimed does exactly what it says.  It gives precisely what it commands.  The Lord does and gives what His Word says!    


I have to go on extolling!  There’s even more!  Where the Lord’s Word is going on – being mouthed – preached – proclaimed, the Holy Spirit is going on!  I.E. where the divine Word — there the Holy Spirit bestows and grants divine holiness – sanctifies!  Hallows! 


Did you hear that?  God’s Word hallows!  God’s Word holies!  God’s Word sanctifies!  All because His Word is most holy![3]  The Word bestows and gives the very holiness of the Triune God Himself!  TO YOU!  AND FOR YOU!  Through your ears!


Any day from the New Testament on, in which God’s Word is preached, taught, proclaimed is a holy day – a Sabbath Day for you!  For in that Word God is speaking to you!  In and through that Word the Lord deals with you!  And by His Word He hallows, holies, and sanctifies you the sinner.  The Third Commandment is about being occupied with God’s Word!  Hearing the preaching!  Holding it sacred!  Gladly hearing and learning it!  Not blowing it off!  Or treating it as a nothing!    


Tonight you are given to hear!  The Lord Jesus!  He does a Passover like none ever before!  He speaks words that were never ever spoken or heard at any Passover meal in the history of Israel! 


On the very day on which it was “customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb,” the Lamb is provided.  The Lamb is there!  The Lamb is the Lord Jesus Himself!  He is THE Lamb of God!  The Lord provides!  The perfect and without blemish Lamb!  The divine Lamb – the only One that takes away the sin of the world – that atones for all sin and for every sinner!  And Passover Lamb Jesus will be sacrificed.  That’s tomorrow.  Good Friday.


This evening is the night on which He is betrayed.  Judas!  Hands the Lamb over to sinners.  To be bound!  To be crucified on the altar of the cross!  “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me – one who is eating with me … It is one of the Twelve … one who dips bread into the bowl with me.  The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him.”  


It is according to the Word!  The Word – the prophecies – are doing what they promised!  What they predicted!  “Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me,” (Psalm 41:9)!  The divine Word from that Psalm is doing what it says.  Giving what it says!  To the Word made flesh Jesus – on the night in which He was betrayed! 


In the midst of this Passover meal Jesus takes bread.  He gives thanks and breaks it.  He takes a cup.  He gives thanks for it.  Then, as He hands out the bread and the wine to His disciple there are more words!  LORD Jesus speaks!  From His mouth!  “Take this bread.  It is my body.”  “This [cup of wine] is my blood of the new covenant which is poured out for many.”


What?  Is He serious?  Yes, deadly serious!  Has He lost His mind?  No.  He is of very sound mind!  The Lord says what He says.  Means what He says.  Does what He says!  Gives what He says.  THIS IS HIS LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT. 


This is what He bequeaths!  This is the inheritance!  The gifts!  The bread IS His Body!  The wine IS His Blood! It is His Body born of the Virgin!  He doesn’t have another one!  It is His Blood that flows in His arteries!  He doesn’t have any other kind of Blood!  Both are to be received with your mouth!  Eaten.  Drunk. 


With His words Jesus makes a covenant!  Or a promise!  “This is my blood of the new covenant.”  This is the language of Exodus 24:6-8! Moses took the blood of the animal sacrifices and sprinkled it on the Israelites and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you …” 


Here, on the night He was betrayed, the LORD – the LORD Jesus takes the cup of wine and declares:  “This is my blood of the new covenant.”  Not the blood of animals!  BUT “MY BLOOD!”  BUT THE BLOOD OF THE GOD-MAN HIMSELF!    With these words Jesus suffers Himself to die!  As THE ONE AND ONLY SACRIFICE FOR SIN!  THAT IS WHAT IS “NEW” HERE!


His Blood is divine Blood that purifies from all sin!  Divine Blood for cleansing!  Divine Blood for forgiveness and salvation!  The Blood of God Himself in the very Body in that man Jesus that is given into death on the cross once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin!


With the bread He gives His Body to eat.  With the wine He gives His Blood to drink.  “This is my blood of the new covenant which is poured out for many!”    FOR MANY – AND FOR YOU!  HE IS GOD THE LORD FOR YOU!  IN THIS WAY.  THE SACRAMENT OF THE ALTAR WAY! 


In the Sacrament tonight Jesus holies you, hallows you, sanctifies you!  His most holy Word hooked together with the bread and wine bestows what He promises.  Jesus Himself speaks to you tonight.  Into your ears go His Words!  Into your mouths goes what His Words say!  “Take this bread.  Eat it.  It is my Body.  Drink the cup.  It is my Blood.  It is the new covenant in which I prove that I am God for you!” 


It is a Holy Communion!  He comes.  He gathers.  He speaks.  He takes your sin!  He clothes you with His holiness!  It is holiness — His – for you!  And with His Words that you hear tonight at the Sacrament  you have forgiveness – the forgiveness He won for you at Calvary!  With His Good Friday forgiveness bestowed with His Words “given and shed for you,” you also are given life and salvation! 


Jesus is the LORD.  He is LORD God for you!  And you are His holy, hallowed, sanctified people!  All bestowed with His Words!


Happy hearing!  Happy eating and drinking according to His Words! 


In the Name of Jesus.    

     [1]LC, 398:87.

     [2]LC, 398:88.

     [3]”For the Word of God is the true holy object above all holy objects,” LC 399:91.

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