Maundy Thursday Worship
Sermon for Maundy Thursday – April 14, 2022
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria
In the Name of Jesus, the Christ,
The Passover Lamb to deliver from all sin,
From Death and from the power of the devil,
Dear Fellow Redeemed in His Precious Blood –
We are familiar with our own traditions and celebrate them.
Thanksgiving - While there are differences between family traditions, generally speaking the Thanksgiving meal includes turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and pumpkin pie for dessert. If you are Norwegian that meal will probably also include lefse or some other dessert.
Christmas – I don’t know how many people still celebrate Christmas with a goose, but we all have our favorites when it comes to Christmas cookies and desserts.
We are less familiar with the ethnic traditions of others and their historical connection. I doubt that any of us roasted a lamb whole today and plan to eat it with bitter herbs this evening when we get home. We are only vaguely familiar with the Passover meal as described in the Bible.
This evening it is not our purpose to share the recipe once used by the Israelites. It is our purpose to see Jesus in the meal that they ate and also in the Lord’s Supper which He instituted afterward. Our purpose is to compare the shadow (the Passover) with the substance, Christ.
May God the Holy Spirit strengthen our faith in Jesus and His willing Sacrifice through these words. Amen.
It must have been a fearful time in Egypt. It was fearful for the Israelites because they were slaves, forced to do hard labor. Since they were a larger people than their captors, the Egyptians made it illegal to give birth to a son, and if a male child was born its life was to be taken away.
It was also a fearful time for the Egyptians. Moses, who had been raised in Pharoah’s house returned and the LORD was with him, demanding that the Israelites be set free. The demand brought by Moses wasn’t fearful but the consequences of Pharoah’s no were frightening.
1. The LORD struck the waters of Egypt and they turned to blood.
2. The LORD caused a plague of frogs to cover the land of Egypt.
3. Then LICE as thick as the dust of the earth.
4. Then FLIEs in clouds so thick they nearly blotted out the sun.
5. The LORD struck the livestock of the Egyptians so that they died.
6. The LORD struck the Egyptians with boils which couldn’t’ have been fun.
7. Then HAIL that destroyed the crops of the Egyptians.
8. Then LOCUSTS at what remained of the crops of the Egyptians.
9. Then DARKNESS so thick that no one could get up for three days.
Pharoah still stubbornly refused the LORD’s demand to let the Israelites go. God’s patience with Pharoah was over and he revealed to Moses the final plague, the death of the firstborn of man and beast in all of Egypt. The threat did nothing to persuade Pharoah. The final terrible plague was coming upon all of Egypt.
But God was merciful to the Israelites and established the Passover meal as both a means of deliverance and a memorial meal of God’s deliverance for future generations. Their rescue would be brought about by means of a Lamb.
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2 “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. 3 Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb.
While the 5th plague struck the livestock of the Egyptians so that they died, the livestock of the Israelites remained alive and healthy. The Passover Lamb was to be a lamb for everyone. Every man was to take a lamb for his household and if his household was too small to consume it, they were to gather together with friends and neighbors to consume it together.
The Passover Lamb was for everyone...not a select few. The Lamb was also to be a year-old male, physically perfect, without defect, for the Lord said:
5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight. 8 They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. 10 And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11 In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’s Passover.
What did it matter if the Lamb had a broken leg or some defect if it was only going to be sacrificed and eaten anyway? While the Lamb would ultimately benefit each household it was first and foremost a Lamb for God, chosen for Him to be a sacrifice to Him. The Passover Lamb wasn’t merely a meal, but an offering to God...and the LORD doesn’t accept the injured or lame. They could take from the sheep or the goats, but the LORD deserves the best, it had to be healthy and sound.
For it was a lamb whose blood the LORD promised would deliver them from the final plague of death:
7 “Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it... 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.
The Lamb was not only to be a meal. They were to take the blood of the animal and use it to paint the doorposts and the lintel or header of their doorways. This was not to give their homes a little color and serve as some gory warning to the Egyptians. It was a sign that those within the house had believed God’s Promise to deliver them from death by means of the blood of the lamb. It was a sign that they believed that the LORD would Passover those houses and not bring death upon them because of the blood of the Lamb.
This wasn’t to be a one-time event either, but a yearly memorial of God’s great deliverance of the Israelites from slavery and death in Egypt. For the Lord commanded:
14 “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. **
It was a Lamb for everyone; A Lamb without blemish, a Lamb for sacrifice. It was a Lamb whose blood would deliver. It was a lamb to serve as a reminder of God’s great deliverance.
So, it happened on Maundy Thursday, when the day came for the Passover Lamb was to be sacrificed...that Jesus sent Peter and John into Jerusalem with these instructions (Luke 22:8-13, ESV):
“Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.” 9 They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?” 10 He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters 11 and tell the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there.” 13 And they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
Jesus and His disciples gathered in the Upper Room to eat the Passover Lamb. It had been roasted whole with its legs and entrails. They ate it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, which served to remind them of their forefather’s bitter taskmasters in Egypt. They would review and remember the great deliverance which the LORD had accomplished by means of the blood of the Passover Lamb.
After the meal was concluded and Judas went out to obtain the soldiers to arrest Jesus...that Jesus instituted and established another meal that serves to stand as a memorial of God’s greatest deliverance of all.
Jesus took up unleavened bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it to His disciples. They had eaten the Lamb, not the one that John the Baptist called “The Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world” said:
“This is my body which is given for you for the forgiveness of sins.”
It was traditional to take up and bless a cup of wine and drink it in remembrance of God’s great deliverance. This time Jesus took up a cup of wine and declared:
“This is my blood which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”
“This do as often as you drink it in remembrance of me.”
This new meal was also to be repeated by those who believe...and so we do this evening. The same Jesus comes to each of us in His Word to comfort us again, confirming again that He gave his body and shed his blood for the remission of our sins. This blessing is ours not merely because John the Baptist declared Him to be the Lamb of God’s choosing to take away the sin of the world; but because Jesus got up and left the upper room, to go the way of the cross.
God doesn’t accept the sinful, the injured or lame for sacrifice but only the healthy and the sound.... the one in whom He was well pleased. He was perfect and pure within and without, without blemish and spot, and only His blood could suffice as the ransom price for sins. So the Apostle Peter was prompted by the Holy Spirit to write (1 Peter 1:18-19):
“...you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, 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.”
Jesus is the Lamb that God has chosen for everyone. He – like the scapegoat – bore the sins of us all to the Cross and the Grave to release us forever from them and their consequences. Then like the Passover Lamb, whose bones could not be broken, not one of his bones were broken (John 19:33-36).
Jesus is the Lamb of Sacrifice whose blood delivers us. So, it is written (1 John 1:7b):
“...the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”
Jesus is the Lamb who brings about God’s ultimate deliverance – not from the oppression of an earthly nation – but from the power of Satan, the burden of sin and the threat of eternal death.
For you see...
The Passover Lamb is the shadow...the picture...of Jesus the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
The Passover meal is the shadow...the picture...of the Lord’s Supper in which the Lamb gives to us of His body and confirms our deliverance from death by His Blood.
Is it any wonder that the Song of Salvation goes (Revelation 5:12-13):
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”