Knowing God Perfectly Through the Passion of Jesus: Lord’s Supper
Wednesday of Lent 1
17 February 2016
+Jesu Juva +
The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ: The Lord’s Supper / Lenten Catechetical Theme: Knowing God Perfectly!
Brothers and sisters, you have the wonderful joy tonight to know God perfectly! Remarkably, this means that Jesus is not only your Teacher and Lord but He is also among you AS YOUR SERVANT! Yes, that’s right: SERVANT! He said so! He is SERVANT for your salvation. Jesus is God FOR YOU as He serves you with the gift of salvation from His cross and with the gift of His crucified, risen and ascended body and blood in the Lord’s Supper!
Check it out. Here we go. Hang on tight. Fasten your seatbelts. It’s quite a ride. Everything is coming to a climax. Jesus’ “hour” has come! His hour of salvific servanthood is at hand! “Now is the Son of Man glorified and in him God is glorified.”
Look what happens! The bigwig religious establishment types and know-it-all consultants convene a smoke-filled, back room, secret meeting at the high priest’s palace. Purpose? Plot to take out, or snuff out that troublesome Jesus! Mafioso style!
Look what happens! Satan lurks. Works overtime. Where? In the church and in the holy ministry! The red dragon employs Judas Iscariot as his hellish instrument. Yes, the devil has an apostle as Antichrist! “Satan entered into Judas.” To the chief priests and captains Judas goes. The hellacious deal is struck. “What will you give me to betray him to you?” Judas’ mouth is Satan’s mouth. “Hard cold cash!” is the reply. They shake hands and heads. There are devilish grins and smirks. Thirty pieces of silver jingle and clink as they are counted into Judas’ hands. His hands are the hands of Satan! What treachery! What villainy! What horror!
Look what happens! Strife. Conflict. Discord. Contention. Fighting. Where? In the church and in the holy ministry! The apostles clench their fists, raise their voices, spit invectives, push, shove and threaten each other with bodily harm, litigation and excommunication as they verbally brawl about who is the greatest among them. How astoundingly appalling.
What happens in the midst of all this sinful chaos? In the middle of all these deadbeat losers and criminals? You thought you had seen everything. Well, you haven’t seen anything yet. Look what Jesus does! It is unthinkable. What no one (and I mean no one) would ever do. It is mind blowingly incredible! He, as God for them, “loves them.” He “loves them to the end.”
With His love Jesus is in control. He is the Lord, the Great I AM. As the loving Lord, Jesus is all about bountiful giving! He is all in with His never ending love! He is God FOR THEM! You learn to know God perfectly in what Jesus does for the apostles and for you. You learn to know God perfectly as Jesus serves His sinners – even as He sufferingly squanders His service on His betrayer.
He puts His giving/loving into action. He does the most menial task. The lowest of low. He washes their feet! This is the act of a servant. He is among them as One who serves! He came not to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many! Peter objects: “You shall never wash my feet!” As if Peter has no use of Jesus! No need for Savior Jesus. No benefit from Jesus. So Jesus replies: “If I do not wash you – i.e. if you do not receive my forgiveness, you have no part with me.”
Jesus teaches Peter and you to be totally dependent on Him. He teaches Peter, the other apostles and you what to expect and receive from Him – love, mercy, forgiveness, SALVATION! “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.”
I’m here to tell you that you have blessedness in Servant Jesus. He is your ministering Lord! Jesus is God FOR YOU as He wins and bestows forgiveness. He achieves salvation FOR YOU as He, the Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world. His Good Friday cross is the perfect and only sacrifice that atones for all your sin. Yes, ALL YOUR SIN!
Every Sunday in the Sacrament with ordinary bread and wine He lavishes and bathes His sacrificial and all sin atoning love over you. This is what you are to receive and expect from Him all your life! He “takes off His outer garments” and goes to work FOR YOU. He is among you as One who serves! “Take eat; this is my body which is given FOR YOU. This do in remembrance of me … Drink of it all of you; this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed FOR YOU and for many for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
What He says He gives. What He gives He says. FORGIVENESS, LIFE AND SALVATION. He loves you to the end. Good Friday. Lord’s Supper. All FOR YOU! There you know God perfectly!
In the Name of Jesus.
”The Creed properly follows, which sets forth all that we must expect and receive from God; in short, it teaches us to know him perfectly,” (Formula of Concord, Large Catechism II.2 in Robert Kolb and Timothy J. Wengert, eds., The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church [Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000], 431).