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The Lord’s Love Has Its Way With You

April 14, 2017

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Maundy Thursday                                                Trinity Lutheran Church

13 April 2017                                                         Murdock, NE

 

+ Jesu Juva +

John 13:1-17, 31b-35

 

Incredible! The Most High God, Teacher and Lord Jesus “loves them to the end.” He does the verbs. He loves. He serves. He gives. He rises from the table. Lays aside His garments. He ties a towel around His waist, pours a basin of water, kneels down washes and dries their feet. Servant Jesus! He does what no Hebrew slave was ever asked to do. He washed feet. He came not to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many because His “hour had come.” Not just to wash feet but the hour has come for His all sufficient, all atoning for sin and for every sinner Good Friday death.

 

The washing of their feet – His service to this bickering band of disciples – is hooked with His Supper – the giving of His body and blood with the bread and wine with the promise that it is “given and shed for the forgiveness of sins.”  His love, His giving, His serving is enormous. Salvifically giganitic it is in the sublime humility of His dying on the cross and giving you the salvational inheritance He won FOR YOU there. From His body on the cross to the chalice into your mouths, His Good-Friday-for-forgiveness–for-salvation–blood flows into your mouth.

 

Your faith in Him is strengthened. He truly is the Savior. Savior FOR YOU! There is no other.

 

So, as the fruit of His giving, His serving, His love, His forgiveness, His Body, His Blood in the Sacrament there is the fervent love for one another. Just as the Lord mandated. “A new command I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you that you also love one another.”

 

Did you notice? “As I have loved you!” As you cling to His dying FOR YOU in faith – as you hang on to His promise of forgiveness, life and salvation in baptism, absolution, preaching and the Supper – as Jesus loves you – then you are able to love one another.

 

Fed with the Lord’s body and blood tonight in the Lord’s Supper you are like a branch that is fed by the vine to which it is attached so that you love others as Jesus has loved you.

 

The Lord’s love poured out FOR YOU on the cross, poured into you in your baptism and the Sacrament of the Altar, bears fruit as His love has its way with you. The same body and blood that bent down as a servant to wash the dirty feet of His disciples, now bends your body down to wash the soiled feet of one another, cleaning one another, forgiving one another, loving one another. “By this all will know that you are my disciples, when you have love for one another.”

 

Let’s be clear. You don’t love others in order to be loved by God. Jesus loved you to death on the cross before you ever loved Him. While you were His enemies – dead in your trespasses and sins, Jesus laid down His life FOR YOU. His was “love to the loveless shown, that they might lovely be” as one of the Lenten hymns confesses it.

 

You love each other because you are loved by God in His Son Jesus Christ. His washing you in holy baptism and His giving you His body and blood tonight in the Supper bear witness to you that He loves you. On the cross. Tonight. And TO THE END!

 

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

 

That’s precisely what you want to do! His love enlivens you to do just that. He uses you as His instruments, His hands, His mouth, to care for others through your love for them. After all, Jesus doesn’t need your love – but your neighbor does! Through you He sees to it that His love flow through you to others.

 

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ His dear Son!

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