Blog / Book of the Month / At the Right Time in the Right Place / Luke 22:7–20 / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Thrusday April 14th 2022 / Maundy Thursday / Mount Olive Lutheran Church

At the Right Time in the Right Place / Luke 22:7–20 / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Thrusday April 14th 2022 / Maundy Thursday / Mount Olive Lutheran Church

At the Right Time in the Right Place / Luke 22:7–20 / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Thrusday April 14th 2022 / Maundy Thursday / Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Maundy Thursday April 14th 2022: Season of Lent / Luke 22:7–20 "At the Right Time in the Right Place."

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.” They said to Him, “Where will You have us prepare it?” 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 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?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there.” And they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

And when the hour came, He reclined at table, and the apostles with Him. And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And He took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.”

Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in Your sight O Lord. Amen.

Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends.  Jesus could have kept walking and they would have followed Him. After the Super that Thursday, as they crossed the Kidron Valley towards the Mount of Olives where He was planning to go and pray Jesus could have said to the eleven remaining disciples that they were going further to the town of Bethany, to Mary and Martha and Lazarus’ House, then Judas would have taken the Temple Guards to the Garden of Gethsemane and found an empty olive grove. Had Jesus done that He would not have been taken into custody that night and the events we remember from Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday wouldn’t have happened. Remember what Saint Paul says, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”[1] It was the right time. Jesus knew how it would unfold, we see this in our Gospel reading when He explains what the disciples were to expect when they went to prepare for the Passover meal, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him,” and it was just as Jesus said it would be. Had Jesus deviated from what was before Him all would have been lost, you would still be lost. Had He done anything different, without His Father’s blessing,[2] it would not have been faithfulness; He would not have been faithful to His heavenly Father, He would not have been faithful to you.

Jesus’ faithfulness, His humility and His obedience to His heavenly Father were, are and ever will be perfect. He knew what was coming; He knew He would suffer at the hands of the Chief Priests, the Scribes and the Elders of the people,[3] that this Thursday was a special Passover, the ultimate Passover because He was in fact the Last Passover Lamb, the Lamb of God that all other Passover lambs had pointed to for centuries; that as our reading from the letter to the Hebrews said Jesus was, in all these things, making for us “the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh,” and that this opening would be made through His suffering and death, through His crucifixion, through His shed blood. If He had walked away that Thursday Night, had He turned His back on Jerusalem and all the people who had cried out that previous Sunday “Hosanna,” “Please, Save us!:” had He skipped town in the face of certain death, He would not have been where He needed to be, He would have failed in faithfulness, in humility and in obedience. All of this was laid upon Jesus’ shoulders as He sat down with His disciples for the Passover meal that night. By His faithfulness, humility and obedience He was in the right place at the right time. The right place at the right time on Palm Sunday, in the Temple teaching on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and in the Upper Room that Thursday and He would be in the right place praying in the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives, and on the cross of His crucifixion at Golgotha - Mount Calvary - on the Friday we call Good. Knowing all of this, before the Meal, Jesus took the place of a servant and He washed His disciples feet, even Judas’ feet whom He knew would betray Him.[4]     

Dearest Altar Guild, dear congregation of Mount Olive, as an aside consider this detail in the Gospel tonight: At Jesus’ command the disciples prepared the Passover meal, they brought together the food, set the table, made the arrangements[5] as they had faithfully done each year and Jesus for His part made Himself present in the their midst saying, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you,” and even more than that He made Himself present in the very Cup and in the very broken bread that He gave to them saying “take and eat” “take and drink of it.” We at Mount Olive and in Christian Congregations down the road and around the world stretching back to that Thursday, and every Sunday that followed it, have prepared the Meal, and set the table at Jesus’ command and He in turn has made Himself present in the Meal each and every time we have done this in remembrance of Him. Your work is not in vain it is appreciated and loved, be faithful in it, not for your own good alone but for the good it does for those who rightly participate in it. Remember what Saint Paul says about Holy Communion in 1 Corinthians chapter eleven “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”[6] What we celebrate is a remembrance; it’s a proclamation, a confession of faith while it is at the same time the very Meal that links us to that Thursday, to Good Friday, to Easter Sunday making us part of what we hear this night, and tomorrow and Saturday and Sunday, what we hear each week.

You may not be part of the Altar Guild, you may not be an Elder serving at the Table this night, you may simply be the one with hands outstretched receiving Christ Jesus, one who is the recipient of the work of others around the Communion Table, whatever the case might be your attendance at the Meal says something to each other, to the community, to the World and your offerings of time, talents and treasures all contribute to making sure this remembrance, this proclamation, this confession of faith continues here in this place until Jesus returns on The Last Day. We all have a place in relation to the table, in relation to the Meal, even those who are being prepared to participate in The Holy Supper because the blood of Jesus was poured out for all Christians and for all people: those who seek it, those who receive it and those who are preparing to have it, even for those who will have nothing to do with it.       

In the right place at the right time – tonight, and every Sunday He faithfully comes to us in His Meal with forgiveness because we have failed to faithfully come to Him. He comes down to us in this Meal because we cannot ascend to Him where He is seated at the Father’s right hand. Tonight, and every Sunday He comes to us with humility: in, with and under the bread and the wine of the Meal the All Knowing, the All Powerful God “without whom was not any thing made that was made,”[7] comes to us making Himself present in these simple things, a piece of bread, a sip of wine. Tonight, and every Sunday He obediently comes to us in love not in obedience to us but in obedience to His heavenly Father, “For God loved the world in this way, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”[8] In the Meal God the Father gives His Son to us every time we do this in remembrance of Christ Jesus, and because of God the Father’s love for you, because of Jesus’ love for you, Jesus obediently comes to us in the bread and the wine with His body and blood for the forgiveness of your sins.

Think of what St. Paul says in Philippians chapter two, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”[9] This, dear ones, is also the spirit in which Jesus comes to us in this Meal. He comes to you here with everything you need most, forgiveness of sins and the promise of Eternal Life, with strength in the face of the challenges and sufferings you face. He is not coming to you in a spirit of selfish ambition or conceit but in humility, emptying Himself as a servant into the bread and the wine for you to eat and drink unto Salvation, giving you His very body and blood, the same body and blood that hung upon the cross in His crucifixion.  

When we reflect on our own life and times - the places we are supposed to be and the places we are not supposed to be - we can see how we have not always been faithful, humble and obedient in our callings. There will have been times when you found yourself in the exact place you ought not to be, doing the very thing you are not to be doing. I say this in a vague sort of way but you know the specifics: Times when you failed in your responsibilities and have fallen into sin. When your faithfulness to family, children, spouse, friends, community, vocation have faltered: Times and places where putting yourself first came at the expense of someone else who needed you, where you were in fact disobedient to the Law of God and sin took hold of you. When you kept walking away from where you were supposed to be, when you ran away from what was good into the arms of what was evil and selfish and harmful. For all those times remember Jesus’ faultless faithfulness, humility and obedience. Remember how He is always there in the right place at the right time, how He is always lovingly here for you in Holy Communion with forgiveness. We repentantly come to the table with our failures, our selfishness, our disobedience, with our sin in our weakness and He says, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me,” … “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood,” shed for you for the forgiveness of sin.[10] The only one at the table without sin is Jesus and He gives Himself for heavenly food and we are forgiven not because we are faithful but because He is. Rejoice in this precious gift given to us all in our weakness at the right time in the right place. Dear Lord, help us ever to receive it with honest hearts, to our benefit and the benefit of our neighbour. Amen.       

Let us pray:

Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.

[1] Romans 5:6
[2] Luke 22:41–43 “And [Jesus] withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him.”
[3] Mark 8:31
[4] John 13:1-11
[5] Luke 22:7-13
[6] 1 Corinthians 11:26
[7] John 1:3
[8] John 3:16
[9] Philippians 2:3–8
[10] Matthew 26:28

Photo Credits: Main Photo Stained Glass Jesus with Holy Communion from pxhere; Wilhelm Marstrand (1810–1873) Kiss of Judas from commons.wikimedia; detail of Host from schultzphotographic; detail of Pastor Pouring Wine from schultzphotographic; detail of Pastor Holding Chalice from schultzphotographic; detail of Maundy Thursday Supper Last Supper Painting from pixabay; detail Walking in the Dark from pexels.