Online Worship for Lent Four, Sunday March 19, 2023
Sermon for Lent Four – 3/29/09 – 3,6,16 - Sunday March 19, 2023
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Matthew 26:17-29 (NKJV)
17 Now on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?” 18 And He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.” ’ ” 19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover. 20 When evening had come, He sat down with the twelve. 21 Now as they were eating, He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.” 22 And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and each of them began to say to Him, “Lord, is it I?” 23 He answered and said, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me. 24 The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” 25 Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?” He said to him, “You have said it.” 26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
In the Name of Jesus of Nazareth,
The Lamb of God and Anointed One,
Dear Fellow Redeemed by His Blood –
It takes time…time to carefully plan and prepare a special meal. For example, the traditional Thanksgiving Day Turkey dinner takes a number of hours to prepare, and I’m not just talking about cooking. If frozen, the bird must be thawed over a number of hours. While thawing, other ingredients must be assembled and prepared, especially if the meal is to be crafted from scratch. It takes time.
It also took time to prepare the special Jewish meal known as the Passover. In fact, they set aside a whole day, the 14th day of the Jewish month Nisan [March-April], and they simply called it the preparation day. It was a fitting name, because many things had to be prepared before the meal commenced at sundown.
It was a busy day for everyone, because every family was to prepare a lamb for the Passover.
For Jesus, the Day of Preparation (Thursday of Holy Week) began with the Disciples asking where He wanted them to prepare the Passover. Jesus had the matter well in hand. The Gospels of Mark and Luke tell how Jesus sent Peter and John into the city to look for a man carrying a jar of water. They were told to follow him and to tell him:
‘The Teacher says, “My time is at hand;
I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.”
They found it just as He had said. They made preparations (19). There is surely a reminder about carefully doing what Jesus says!
Peter and John first prepared for the Passover by purchasing a Lamb, a one year old male, without blemish or defect (cf. Exodus 12). They took the Lamb to the Temple of the LORD where it was sacrificed. They watched as its blood was shed. Then they took the Lamb and prepared it for the Passover meal by roasting it. They saw to it that unleavened bread and a sauce of bitter herbs were prepared. It was certainly not the first Passover meal they had prepared.
When evening had come, He sat down with the twelve.
The first Passover meal had been eaten standing, ready for flight from Egypt (Exodus 12:11), but Jesus and His disciples ate it reclining at a low table. No doubt they carefully followed the traditions of the Passover, and first recounted how God had delivered their ancestors from slavery in Egypt.
Surely they discussed how the blood of the Lamb painted on the doorposts of their dwellings caused the Angel of Death to ‘pass over’ their houses.
They certainly looked to Jesus to begin the meal with prayer.
Thus the Passover meal began, and they ate the roasted lamb, with unleavened bread and a sauce of bitter herbs. It was as they ate that Jesus revealed something that only one other among them knew.
“Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.”
Jesus had told them that He would be betrayed to the Jewish Leaders. He had told them he would be beaten and killed. What he hadn’t revealed was that one of them would betray Him to His enemies. Jesus knew that on the previous day (Wednesday of Holy Week) Judas had gone to the chief priests and made arrangements to betray Him (Matthew 26:14)…but the others didn’t know, and they showed it.
22 And they were exceedingly sorrowful,
and each of them began to say to Him, “Lord, is it I?”
Jesus didn’t point Judas out. He let him know that He knew. He gave him opportunity to think about what He was doing and to repent of it. He also gave the others opportunity to examine their hearts, to ask, could I betray my Lord? One by one they asked, “It’s not me, Lord, is it?”
They realized that they were susceptible to temptation. God help us to be honest (and not arrogant, cf. 1 Cor. 10:12) with ourselves and see the potential in each of us to turn from Him.
The LORD Jesus is also merciful with us, giving us opportunity to confess our sins to Him. God help us that we never take His patience and longsuffering with us as license to continue in sin.
Let us never trample on the grace of God, but daily fall to our knees and pray: “God be merciful to me, a Sinner!”
It was as they asked Him that Jesus said…
“He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me. 24 The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” 25 Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?” He said to him, “You have said it.”
When they ate, they took bread or meat and dipped it in a common sauce bowl. They had all dipped their hands into the bowl together. How could this indicate which of them would be the traitor? Even after Judas finally asked, “Rabbi, is it I?” And Jesus said: “You have said it” The rest didn’t understand it was him (cf. John 13:28-29) until later.
But notice what the Lord said! He was no unwilling participant, no weakling, and no victim. He was going forward to fulfill the things written of Him in the Scriptures. He was going to do the Father’s will.
However, that did not absolve the betrayer. It would have been better for him if he had never been born. Judas may have thought he was being well-paid, when in reality he would pay a terrible price. It was then, perhaps that Judas left them (cf. John 13:27ff).
The meal was all but over but His Supper was about to be established.
26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples…Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.
Jesus’ disciples didn’t see a miracle in the upper room. What the LORD did was far from extraordinary. He took unleavened bread, blessed and broke it and gave it to his disciples. It was not much different than our passing the plate at a ‘sit down’ meal. Jesus didn’t have to say: “Here is some bread for you. Have a drink of this grape wine.” They knew what it was that He was giving them.
What they didn’t know was what they were also to receive something special along with that bread and wine. Since they didn’t know, the LORD told them, and tells us. When He gave them the bread, He said:
“Take, eat; this is My body.”
When He sent a cup of grape wine around the table, He said simply:
“…this is My blood of the new covenant,
He told them that they were also receiving His body and blood. He didn’t explain how. He didn’t need to, because they believed in Him and His Word.
So it is when we come to the Supper of the Lord that we also receive His body and blood in a miraculous manner, for His Words have not changed.
…which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
I know the words are familiar, but don’t miss the tremendous revelation He made to them. He told them why He was going to die, why His blood was to be shed.
When Jesus was born, the Angel had revealed (Luke 2:11): “There is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior.”
After Jesus was baptized, John the Baptist had said (John 1:29): “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
Yet neither revealed why He would be called Savior or How He would take away the sin of the world. He is the Savior because His Blood was poured out for sin. He is the Lamb of God, who like the Passover Lamb shed His blood. He has established a new covenant of peace and forgiveness between God and humankind.
He gave His body into death and shed his blood for sinners. As sinners, we can say he gave His body and blood for us.
He still gives His body and blood to sinners in a miraculous way in His Supper to personally confirm that their sins are truly forgiven. He still makes it personal in the words of institution: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”
The Lord’s Supper isn’t just a memorial meal (the Passover a memorial meal). It isn’t just a way to remember what Jesus has done for us. If we fail to listen and believe His Words, then we will miss the miraculous, that we by faith also receive His body and blood. We don’t ask ‘how’ or ‘when’ but simply cling to the word of the Son of God.
We still come today to His Supper first confessing our sins. We are deserving of death eternal. He stills our fears by revealing that He gave His body and shed his blood for our sins. He makes it personal to us by giving to us of that Body and Blood along with the Bread and Wine.
In His Supper, we look both back and forward. We look back upon His Death, but we also look forward to the day when we will sit down with Him in His Heavenly Kingdom, because He has redeemed us to God.
God help us that we not doubt, but firmly believe that our sins are indeed forgiven before God in heaven. Amen.