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Lamb of God Jesus’ Last Will & Testament!

April 18, 2014

Lord's Supper Mural

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Maundy Thursday

17 April 2014

 

+Jesu Juva +

 

Lenten Theme:  “Behold the Lamb of God That Takes Away the Sin of the World!”

 

 

MATTHEW 26:17-30

 

Tonight is all about how Lamb of God Jesus who takes away the sin of the world gives Himself, that is to say, gives away the salvation that He won and achieved on the cross to His sinners.

 

And how in the world does He do that?  Through His words!  He preaches.  He speaks.  What He says He does.  What he promises He gives.

 

On the night when He was betrayed Lamb of God Jesus preaches a Passover sermon that had never been preached before.  He does what He does.  He gives what He gives.  Because He is the God-man.  There is no other God than this man Jesus!  His mouth is God’s mouth.  His words are God’s words.  The sermon He preaches is a divine promise in which He gives His last will and testament.  Yes, that’s right, I said it!  Tonight we hear the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world draw up His last will and testament.

 

He would do that?  Yes, He does!

 

He is the Testator who anticipates His Good Friday death on this Thursday.  He identifies the estate that He leaves behind.  He names the heirs.  Incredibly – you, His sinners – are the beneficiaries!  You, His sinners, are given the inheritance!  The very salvation achieved for you on the cross!

 

Many would object!  Seriously?  He’s got to be out of His mind.  Nuts!  Wacko!  Cuckoo!  A few cards short of a full deck!  Doesn’t He see what’s happening and who these men are?

 

Good grief!  Look around the Passover table.

 

James and John always want to be in charge.  All the rest of the Twelve resent them.  They constantly bicker and fight among themselves.  Iscariot is a thief and he is going to commit one of the most outrageous and notorious betrayals in the history of the world!  With a kiss nonetheless!  And for a sizeable amount of cash-o-la!  Peter, James and John won’t keep watch but will snooze soundly in Gethsemane.  Peter’s, “even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you,” bravado quickly turns into curses and lies that he’s never known this Jesus!  Total and categorical denial!  Not once, but three times!  Three strikes and you’re …

 

Well, at least you’d think so.  But not with Jesus.  He is surrounded by hard core  sinners.  But He is of sound mind.  He is not going off the rails.  He knows exactly what He’s doing. He’s in charge.  He determines the place to celebrate the Passover meal. He’s taken care of every detail.  In fact, He unmasks His betrayer and pronounces divine judgment on him ahead of time.

 

Lamb of God Testator Jesus speaks or bequeaths His will in that upper room on the very night He is betrayed.  “Eat this bread.  It is my body.  I give it for you.  Drink this wine.  This cup is the new testament in my blood which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”  The estate that He leaves is:  “the forgiveness of sins.”  For His sinners!

 

His Good Friday body and blood are given with the bread and wine.  He says so.  What He says He does and gives.  And you, like those notorious sinners around the table, are named as heirs.  Given to receive the eternal inheritance.  Testator Jesus promises that His body and blood are given and shed for you.  That all your sin is forgiven.

 

Like all wills, this one too, when it is read out loud every Sunday, gets contested.  Bitterly.  Some flat out reject it.  “Body?  Blood?  How gross!  How primitive!  Is this some sort of religious cult like cannibalism?  And forgiveness?  Who needs it?  I sure don’t!”

 

Others like Satan, death and the world will be indignant.  Horrified.  They will get in your grill and they will accuse, bind, and condemn you for your sin.  “Look at you!”they scream.  “You call yourself a Christian!  Really?  You’re no better than Iscariot.  You’re just like Peter.  In fact, you’re worse.  You’ve got betraying and denying Jesus down pat.  You’re an expert.  Betrayal and denial is your cup of tea.  According to law and order you’ve excluded yourself from Jesus’ last will and testament.  So when Jesus says it’s ‘for you’ He DOESN’T MEAN YOU!  You are a betrayer!  A deniar!  Sinful!  Unclean!  Unworthy!”

 

What will you do in light of these accusations against you?  What can you say?  Or can you say anything?

 

Of course you can!

 

Tell the truth!  Produce the evidence.  Give them the goods.  They’ve caught you red-handed.  Confess:  “Yes, that’s exactly right.  Truly I am Christ’s betrayer, denier and sinner.  I even colluded in His death!  I gave Him up.  I ran from Him.  I helped spit in His face and pounded the spikes into His hands and feet!  Not denying it!  Not one bit!  But He died for me AND He names me – a sinner — in His last will and testament.  He promises that His estate belongs to me.  I will do as He commands.  I will eat and drink.  I will believe His promise.”

 

Yes, Lamb of God Jesus gives His estate, the forgiveness of sins in the Sacrament, to those who needed it.  Only the sick need a physician.

 

So the next day, Good Friday, He goes to His death.  Crucified.  He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  And that’s when His last will and testament goes into effect.  Probated.  He says so every time you hear the Words of Institution in the divine service.  Those words are His.  It is the public proclamation and reading of His will just as He intended in that upper room.

 

He gives you, His sinner, exactly what He says and promises.  It is His Body with the bread.  It is His Blood with the cup of wine.  It is FOR YOU.  For the forgiveness of your sin!  And with such a promise Lamb of God Jesus bestows the whole enchilada of His kingdom on you:  SALVATION!  The salvation won for you in His dying on the cross.

 

In the Name of Jesus.

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