Blog / Book of the Month / "Received in Repentance" Sermon / Luke 22:7–20 / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Maundy Thursday April 18th 2019 / Season Of Lent / Mount Olive Lutheran Church

"Received in Repentance" Sermon / Luke 22:7–20 / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Maundy Thursday April 18th 2019 / Season Of Lent / Mount Olive Lutheran Church

"Received in Repentance" Sermon / Luke 22:7–20 / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Maundy Thursday April 18th 2019 / Season Of Lent / Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Maundy Thursday April 18th 2019: Season of Lent / Luke 22:7–20 "Received in Repentance"

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 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.” The very next part of what Jesus said was this, “But behold, the hand of him who betrays Me is with Me on the table. For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.[1] Yes all twelve were at the table for the institution of the Lord’s Supper and the eleven had no idea what Judas was up too. And Judas was tight lipped about the plot that night too. Earlier in this very chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke you can read how, “Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve.” You can read how Judas had already, “conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray [Jesus] to them.” You can read how, “[the chief priests and officers] were glad, and agreed to give [Judas] money.” You can read how Judas, “consented and sought an opportunity to betray [Jesus] to them in the absence of a crowd.”[2] In the upper room Jesus knew which one of His twelve was set on betrayal but when confronted Judas did not confess to his plot with the chief priests and officers. Jesus knows the sin in his heart yet Judas will not speak it in repentance, will not confess it. With the 30 pieces of silver already in his possession Judas caries on like nothing was a foot, nothing was out of the ordinary, like nothing was about to happen. In an attempt to evade the question buried in Jesus’ statement we are told in the Gospel of St. Matthew that “Judas, who would betray [Jesus], answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?”[3] when Judas new full well that it was indeed he.

Ah! How great is the blindness of the traitor! Even partaking of the mysteries during Holy Communion he remained the same; and admitted to the most holy table he changed not … Indeed Judas’ sin became greater still for he came to the mysteries with such a disposition, as that having approach them he did not become better, either from the fear of the Lord, or from the benefit, or from the honour of having been admitted. But oddly, considering how Christ knew all things, He forbade Judas not, admitting him to the table[4] based on Judas’ public confession of faith not on the contents of his heart which while invisible to his fellow disciples were not invisible to Christ Jesus.

Tonight we each made a public confession of faith when we were asked? 1. “Do you believe that you are a sinner?” to which we answered “Yes, I believe it. I am a sinner.” 2. We were then asked the sensible question, “How do you know this?” to which we answered, “From the Ten Commandments, which I have not kept.” 3. The fruits of repentance are found in the answer to the next question, “Are you sorry for your sins?” to which we all answered, “Yes, I am sorry that I have sinned against God.” 4. We where then asked about the consequences of our sin, “What have you deserved from God because of your sins?” to which we all answered, “His wrath and displeasure, temporal death, and eternal damnation.” 5. And while terribly honest these questions would leave us crushed if we were not the asked, “Do you hope to be saved?” to which we answered, “Yes, that is my hope.” 6. And finally then the question that strikes at the very heart of the matter, “In whom then do you trust?” to which we responded, “In my dear Lord Jesus Christ.” This was and is your public confession of faith but not only there …

At the beginning of the Service this evening we sang, “Your table I approach; Dear Savior, hear my prayer. Let not an unrepentant heart Prove hurtful to me there. Lord, I confess my sins And mourn their wretched bands; A contrite heart is sure to find Forgiveness at Your hands.” Over and over again in song and with words we confess the truth of our need for grace and mercy and bring our repentant hearts to the LORD. On the other hand Judas found himself at the table, with what to all keen observation looks like, an unrepentant heart. To Jesus’ face Judas denied his betrayal, his sin, his part in the plot against Jesus’ life. When you come to the table you need to be honest with Jesus, when you bend the knee to Him and confess with your tongue that Jesus is Lord, you must do so with a true heart.

“With a true heart?” but “I am not always sincere” you think! In Setting III of the Divine Service in the Hymnal when we say to God, “I, a poor, miserable sinner, confess to You all my sins and iniquities, with which I have ever offended You and justly deserve Your temporal and eternal punishment. But I am heartily sorry for them and sincerely repent of them” I am left a little bit afraid when I dwell on those last words, for I think “am I heartily sorry for my sin … do I sincerely repent of them?” Sometimes I know I will be sinning the same sins over and over again, am I a Judas at the table? Am I sorry enough? Am I sincere enough? Dear Christian. Judas was not troubled with such thoughts. And when he came to his senses and remorse hit him Judas did not turn to Jesus for forgiveness, he did not come to the foot of the cross with the Virgin Mary and St. John to beg for Jesus’ forgiveness, he did not huddle together with his fellow disciples on the Saturday and Sunday following Good Friday, he was not there to hear the risen Lord Jesus say, “Peace be with you” on that first Easter, no Judas went back to the very men that he had plotted with against Jesus seeking forgiveness from them not from Jesus. What does St. Paul say about the Supper, “anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.”[5] And just before that St. Paul says, “Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.”[6] If you are asking yourself whether or not your repentance is sincere enough, whether you are sorry enough then you are examining yourself as St. Paul says. This is what Paul means when he says a person must be worthy. Come to the table as a sinner seeking forgiveness from Jesus, seeking strength for today and for tomorrow and for your whole life; come to Him as one in full need of forgiveness not holding back sins, not turning a blind eye to sins as some do wishing to gild them in gold and call them virtue, desiring acceptance for them when God’s word condemns them and seeks to forgive them.

Forgiveness of sin is a serious business. The contract we break with God when we break His holy law demands blood as St. Paul writes in Romans chapter 6, “the wages of sin is death,”[7] and Jesus gives this meal of forgiveness on “the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.” The Passover lamb which harkens back to, points back to the Passover lambs of the Exodus out of Egypt. When the lambs where killed and their blood was brushed onto the door frames of the homes of the captive Children of Israel. The death of those lambs covered the Children of Israel and protected them from the coming angle of death.

This was the tipping point that secured their release from the Egyptian Pharaoh. The Passover Meal was celebrated every year for around 1,500 years by the time Jesus sat down and had it with His disciples.[8] It was a meal that commemorated what God had done for them in the past and Jesus was making it into a commemoration of what God was doing for them in the present, pointing to His cross and passion Jesus said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” What they did not yet understand was that all those lambs from the days of Moses and the exodus out of Egypt to that very day in Israel where all pointing to Jesus, those deaths were all pointing to the death of Jesus on the cross in His crucifixion. Jesus was to be the true Passover lamb, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, the Lamb of God that grants us peace with our Heavenly Father and with each other: The Lamb of God whose blood doesn’t just cover a door frame but in Baptism covers you with His righteousness wherever you go.

This meal Jesus instituted and commanded is not just a commemoration it is a living breathing thing for He is truly present in its celebration through all time and in ever place where it is received. So while the wages of your sin is death it turns out to be Jesus’ death and not yours; while “the wages of sin is death,” it is also just as true that, “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”[9] Jesus chose the Passover to give this gift weaving the past into you future by fulfilling it and making it new in Him. The forgiveness Jesus gives you in this meal by His very body and blood flows to you, comes to you from the Cross of Good Friday, it is a never ending flood, and it will never run out, you cannot out sin this forgiveness. It is yours until the The Very Last Day.

Now they had yearly done the Passover to remember what God had done for them as a people, in remembrance of the mighty and saving work of God, in remembrance of their rescue as a people.[10] The disciples after Jesus’ death and resurrection followed Jesus’ command and celebrated the Lord’s Supper, this life giving meal of forgiveness, not just once a year but every week.[11] And His bride the Church has celebrated the feast of victory, this Meal of Jesus’ every week for nearly 2,000 years. Countless celebrations like a cup that runs over, a flood of forgiveness and grace, yet for those who cannot see it, cannot taste it, cannot come to it in repentance what then do they obtain? If they eat it unworthily they eat judgment and if they fail to have it at all they deprive themselves of the promised gifts that are given in it.

It started with Jesus and the Twelve in the upper room that Thursday of the First Holy Week on the night when He was betrayed but it did not remain a meal for just Twelve Disciples. Because they listened to Jesus and turned to Him week in and week out for forgiveness in repentance, over time billions, and perhaps billions more, have and will have participated in it. A meal where time collapses in on itself, and we all - heaven and earth together - in Christ Jesus, as Christians, participate together in this meal receiving what was won for us at the cross: Forgiveness, Salvation and Eternal Life in Christ Jesus. Know what it is that you receive, trust in the one who gives it Christ Jesus your Lord, come in repentance, and teach others what it is – the very presence of Christ Jesus for you, for them, for us all.  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] Luke 22:21–23
[2] Luke 22:3–6
[3] Matthew 26:25
[4] St. John Chrysostom Homilies on St. Matthew, The Nicene and Post- Nicene Fathers First Series Volume X, WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Pg 491.
[5] 1 Corinthians 11:29
[6] 1 Corinthians 11:28
[7] Romans 6:23
[8] Exodus 12-13
[9] Romans 6:23
[10] Exodus 14
[11] Acts 2:42, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers;” Acts 20:7, “On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread;” 1 Corinthians 10:16, “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?”