Sermon / Pr. Ted Giese / Thursday April 13th 2017 - / Mark 14:12-26 / Jesus Serves You through His Word - The Third Commandment
(The focus for our Wednesday evening Services, and for Holy Week and Easter, will be the 10 Commandments. Local pastors were provided with a sermon corresponding to their assigned commandment, the sermons are from a sermon series, written by Rev. Brent Kuhlman for Concordia Pulpit Resources, which our Circuit selected for us to use in our Lenten Services. Pastors were encouraged to use as much or as little as they liked from the Pr. Kuhlman’s sermon series)
Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) April 13th 2017: Lent/Holy Week / Mark 14:12–26 "Jesus Serves You through His Word."
“And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, [Jesus’] disciples said to Him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for You to eat the Passover?” And He sent two of His disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is My guest room, where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as He had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
And when it was evening, He came with the twelve. And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me, one who is eating with Me.” They began to be sorrowful and to say to Him one after another, “Is it I?” He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with Me. For the Son of Man goes as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”
And as they were eating, He took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is My body.” And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”
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. Remembering the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy is all about God being God for you, through His Word. God is a talker: A speaker: Especially in Jesus Christ the Word made flesh. God then is the one who is doing and giving what He says - with His words - when we gather together as Christians. So, “when fussy spirits … after they have heard a sermon or two, find hearing more sermons to be tedious and dull,” they need to be told that they are sinning. That they are breaking the third commandment, because ultimately “Whenever God's word is taught, preached, heard, read, or meditated upon, then the person, day, and work are sanctified [made holy]. This is not because of the outward work, but because of the Word which makes saints of us all.” That’s what the Large Catechism says.
Tonight is Maundy Thursday, Holy Thursday, when we remember Jesus’ institution of the Sacrament of the Altar, so let’s start with some questions: When it comes to Holy Communion whose word is it that is being spoken? When it comes to the word spoken there, in Holy Communion, what kind of Sermon is found in these words spoken for you? Maybe you’ve never thought of them as a Sermon. Also, what do these words teach? And what is your attitude toward them … are you a fussy spirit who is tired of hearing them? Tiered of receiving what they give?
Another big element of the third commandment worth considering tonight is this. We believe teach and confess that: “people must have holidays.” Time off so they can “withdraw [from their labour and work] in order to rest for a day and be refreshed … [and] most especially, on this day of rest (since we [often] can get no other chance), we have the freedom and time to attend Divine Service.” So dear Christian friend, you’re given by God to take a little time out of your hustle-and-bustle, time out of your hectic schedules in order to let God speak to you through His Word, to be perfectly passive receivers of His speaking to you through His Word. And through His Word, He actually makes you holy. He sanctifies you. Think of it like this: You floss, you brush your teeth but you never get them as clean as when you go to have a cleaning with the dental hygienist. Now I know that all analogies eventually break down and it’s never good to be alone as a Christian, “flossing and brushing” all by yourself, therefore Christ gives you His church, He institutes Holy Communion and by His word He cleanses and purifies you from all your sin through His divine Word as it is preached and proclaimed by the preacher; namely, when you hear those precious words, “I forgive you.” In the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ! “You are forgiven!” precious, living, active words! When you’re hearing those words or any of Christ’s words, you’re hearing Christ Himself. The living voice of Christ is heard in the divine word of forgiveness. That is the heart of the Divine Service and it is the heart of Holy Communion, and it ought to be the heart of Christian preaching.
Consequently, you are to make use of God’s Word and exercise yourself in it. Or, as the Small Catechism teaches: you should fear and love God so that you do not despise preaching and His Word but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.
So tonight we two wonderful things: 1) a bonus opportunity to find our rest in Christ, a holiday, and 2) we have, in our Gospel, magnificent preaching about the Sabbath Day in the way of the Third Commandment by the Lord Jesus taken from His words spoken on the very night in which He was betrayed. They are His divine words of promise attached to and permeating the Passover meal’s bread and wine. “Take,” Jesus says of the bread, “this is My body.” With regard to the cup of wine, Jesus flat out guarantees: “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.”
These are the words of the divine, eternal majesty Himself: From His own divine mouth: From His own divine lips. He who spoke all creation into existence by speaking the words, “Let there be light,” and it was! The words of the Lord’s Supper are God’s Sacred Word. They are His most holy Word. Gladly you are called to hear them. Happily you are gathered to learn them, and make use of them. After all, they are for you: For your benefit—giving you the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.
But will you? Will you gladly hear them? Or are you bored with His words? Do you routinely blow off His words? Ignore them? Disregard them? Snub your nose at them? Or would you change the Lord’s words to what you believe are better words? Such as, “This symbolizes My body,” or “This is only a symbol of My blood,” which translates into . . . just bread and wine on the altar . . . only bread and wine in the pastor’s hands . . . merely bread and wine in my mouth. No body. No blood. Do you trust Jesus’ words for you? Or would you rather explain them away? And change what they mean?
In His words Jesus doesn’t give you a symbol, or a clever literary device, He gives you His very self, Jesus says, “Take; this bread is My body.” “This cup of wine is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” There’s no spinning it. No massaging it. Is means is. The bread in the Lord’s Supper is His body. The wine in the Lord’s Supper is His blood. St. Paul makes this very clear when he asks you these rhetorical questions. “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation [or communion] in the blood of Christ?” Well, is it? Of course it is! “The bread that we break, is it not a participation [or communion] in the body of Christ?” Well, is it? Of course it is!
So tonight you hear the Lord’s words from the Lord Himself. It is His short powerful sermon, His preaching to you and for you: “Take; this is My body.” “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” As you hear these words today they are the words of your Jesus who was crucified and risen, who won and achieved the treasure of salvation for you in His Good Friday death. He says them the night before His death but He knows that His death and resurrection are coming, and He knows how these words will be used in the years to come as His church gathers around them, gathers around Him. Yes, that which was once acquired under Pontius Pilate at the cross on Golgatha is ever again distributed: the body of Jesus given for you, the blood of Jesus shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Through these specific words of proclamation (“Take; this is My body,” “This is My blood” etc.), Jesus speaks to you. He gives you exactly what He says through His words—namely, His body and His blood for you for the forgiveness of your sins. That’s why the Words of Institution are to be spoken or sung facing the congregation, not whispered or hidden away. Again, His words are preaching words. He’s talking to you in and through His words so you know and believe exactly what He’s giving to you.
The whole point of the Sacrament is this. It is the Lord’s service to you and for you. He came not to be served by you but to serve you. He is among you as one who serves. He says come to My Table, find rest for your weary soul here, here with your brothers and sisters in the faith. At this Table He bestows His body and blood with the bread and the wine by virtue of His Word. Yours is to receive, to commune passively; to be given to by the Lord from His Word of promise. That’s in keeping with the Third Commandment’s point of making sure you hold His Word sacred and gladly hear and learn it—making use of it, exercising yourself in it. That means you go to the Lord’s Supper when it’s offered and that you believe what Jesus gives according to His Word. At His table you lay down your fussy spirit with all its complaints, boredoms and sins, and you receive the promised gift given by Jesus. As you believe His Word, you have precisely what He promises: Rest from your labour, forgiveness for your sin, strength for your life in this world and in the world to come. In Jesus’ Holy Word you have the promise of your Eternal Life in Him: His Word is good: His Word is trustworthy and true: His Word is for you: His Word is yours. Let us hold it sacred, let us gladly hear and learn it. 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.
 Concordia The Lutheran Confessions - Pocket Edition, Luther’s Large Catechism, Concordia Publishing House 2006, Pg 509.
 Ibid, Pg 507.
 Ibid, Pg 505.
 Mark 14:22, 24
 1 Corinthians 10:16–17