Summary: A Maundy Thursday Sermon
"His Precious Blood"
18 You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold,
19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
20 He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake. RSV
Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior, Jesus who is the crucified Christ. Amen
The cup, the bread, the cross are all wrapped up together during this Holy Week. Tonight, we are to focus on the cup and the bread, but we cannot do so without remembering the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for us.
Jesus sacrificed Himself for us. For you and for me. And to remember and to relieve and to foretaste what is to come, He gave us this meal, this cup, this bread.
For Lutheran, the Lord’s Supper is at the same time a present event, a past even, and a future event.
It is a past event as it recalls to us the sacrifice Jesus made on the garbage heap of outside the city gates of Jerusalem. His sacrifice was real. He died on a cross, between two criminals, at a place where the roman soldiers gambled for His clothes, where the thieves probably cursed their pain, where roman soldiers felt no pity, no remorse, no sense of guilt for what they had done.
This cup and bread bring into this moment all the pain of Mary as she watched her son die such a miserable death. This bread and cup bring back the cowardice of the disciples as they ran to the upper room away from the roman soldiers so the same fate would not become them. This bread a cup bring back the words of Peter as he denied they he even knew that man on the cross.
From the cross, Jesus lifted our his arms and accepted all the sinfulness of human kind. On that cross on that hill far away, Jesus gave his body and blood for us.
Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was and is a saving act of a selfless person.
It is like the mother in the following;
A story from Scotland tells of a mother’s dramatic rescue of her child. Workmen were blasting rock in a quarry. One day after they had attached the fuse and retired to a safe place and gave the alarm they saw a three year old child wandering across the open space where danger threatened. Every passing second meant death was closing in on the child.
The workmen called to the child and waved their arms, but he only looked on their strange antics with amusement. No man dared run forward knowing the explosion was only seconds away. The child most certainly would have been killed, had not his mother appeared at this moment of crisis.
Taking in the situation at a glance she did what her mother’s heart dictated. She did not run toward her son or yell to frighten him. Instead, she knelt down, opened wide her arms and smiled for him to come. Instantly the child ran towards her. Shortly later the area shook with the force of the explosion, yet the child was safe in his mother’s arms.
We the children of God are safe in the arms of Christ on the cross of Calvary. This cup and bread bring into this present moment all that sacrifice he did for us, for you and me individually.
And that brings us to the present moment. As we eat and drink the body and blood of Christ tonight, we are Lutherans believe that Jesus is with, under, through and around the bread and wine. We believe that something very special happens in this present moment. Jesus, by his actions, not the pastor’s, comes to the bread and wine, and we partake in His saving act of sacrifice again in this moment.
In this moment Jesus comes to us through the cup, through the bread, and brings His life saving grace into our lives. it is his action, not ours. We don’t have to make ourselves right, or prefect to come to this table. We come as sinners to receive a meal that will bring forgiveness, and salvation, an grace into our lives as we deal with all in this world that reminds us we are not as God intended for us to be.
James W. Moore of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Houston tells a story about one of his minister friends.
His name is Tom and he does a fascinating thing each month. Even though he has an extremely busy schedule he still makes the time each month to go down to the homeless shelter in his city to work in their soup kitchen.