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Summary: A communion meditation for Thursday of Holy Week, part 3 of a 4 part series on “Rediscovering His Love: The Wounds of Jesus.”

Thursday of Holy Week

Rediscovering His Love: The Wounds of Jesus

His Side*

Isaiah 53:5: “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

Objective: A communion meditation for Thursday of Holy Week, part 3 of a 4 part series on “Rediscovering His Love: The Wounds of Jesus.”

Today is “Maundy Thursday” “Maundy” is Latin for “commandment;” as in “New Commandment Thursday” it also known as “New Covenant Thursday.” The tradition comes from John 13 when Jesus gave us the instructions regarding communion and exemplified servanthood via the feet washing ceremony. That was also when Jesus said, "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you." (John 13:34, KJV)

“As I have loved you.” That’s the standard Jesus establishes. We don’t have the burden of trying to define love or illustrating it; Jesus has adequately done both. They are, again, modeled this night of Maundy Thursday through the Eucharist (he shows us love by dying for us) and Feet Washing (He shows us love by serving).

Tonight we reflect on the wound inflicted on Jesus’ side.

John 19 says: 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”

It is interesting to me that the word “side” is the word “pleura.” That, of course, is the same word medicine uses to describe the membrane surrounding the lungs. What it tell us is that the sword was thrust deep into Jesus to assure there was no sign of life. It was not a simple prick with the tip of the spear.

I tend to think physicians like Dr. Pierre Barrett and scholars like George Beasley-Murray are onto something when they say, “The heart of Jesus was pierced, and that blood came from the heart and the water from the pericardial sac. The water probably represented serus pleural and pericardial fluid and would have preceded the flow of blood … which may have originated from the right atrium or the right ventricle.” (“John” by George Beasley-Murray, in Word Biblical Commentary volume 36, p. 356).

My point is simple. The wounding of Jesus’ side was much more than that – it was the wounding of Jesus’ heart. Symbolically speaking, on the cross, Jesus’ heart was broken over our broken condition.

My oh my – that lends even greater depth to Jesus’ words "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you." (John 13:34)

Oh, how He loves you and me,

Oh, how He loves you and me.

He gave His life, what more could He give;

Oh, how He loves you, Oh, how He loves me,

Oh, how He loves you and me.

(Lyrics by Kurt Kaiser)

In a sense, Maundy Thursday has brought us full circle. We have greater understanding of Jesus’ love. We have seen it modeled in the meal, the feet washing, the serving hands, and his sacrifice; and now we are told … we should love one another just like He loves us!

The standard is established.

The expectation is clear.

The opportunity is here.

The benefits are immeasurable.

As we receive the communion elements this evening I encourage you to take time for personal inventory. I encourage you to measure yourself by Jesus’ Maundy Thursday command and, if need be, I want you to covenant with God to obey Him and make things rights with any brother or sister he lays on your heart.

A Prayer of Restoration

Merciful Lord, forgive us and restore us

We have not loved you with our whole, soul, mind and strength.

Merciful Lord, forgive us and restore us

We have not loved our neighbor as ourselves

Merciful Lord, forgive us and restore us

We have not forgiven others as we have been forgiven

Merciful Lord, forgive us and restore us

We have allowed pride, hypocrisy, impatience and anger to dwell within us.

Merciful Lord, forgive us and restore us

For our idolatrous love of worldly goods, comfort, and the flesh.

Merciful Lord, forgive us and restore us

For our abuse of your creation

Restore us, good Lord, and let your anger depart,

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