Faithlife Sermons

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Welcome to today’s special service.
This is called Maundy Thursday.
The word ‘Maundy’ comes from the Latin for commandment for earlier on this day Jesus had washed His disciples’ feet and a new commandment had been given to them that they love one another.
This was a busy day for Jesus and it was far from over for this was going to be a sleepless night for later on Jesus is arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane where He willingly gave Himself up into the hands of sinners leading to a number of trials leading to the reason why we have a service here tomorrow morning at 10:30, leading to the cross.
Let us, therefore sing, our first song: Come and See (85)
Our first reading:
All ye that pass by (26)
Our second reading:
One of you will betray me!
This would have been a surprising thing to be said.
But for Judas he would have had a heart-stopping moment.
Nothing takes Jesus by surprise; Judas, Peter, us.
He knew Judas.
Judas had kept his insidious heart hidden from the rest of the disciples but Jesus knew.
And the hearts of all of us here are known too.
It’s not me, is it?
Asked the other disciples knowing full well what they were capable of though full of self-denial too.
And then Judas said: It’s not me is it?
Judas denied it but he had already set the course for he had received the money.
Jesus was giving him a chance to change his ways…but he was not convicted, not moved, not self-examined, not repenting.
He was also told the consequence of his deception and treachery in advance by Jesus that if he carries it through it would have been better not to have been born.
Being born was not his choice but now a choice was being set before him.
Life and death.
He chose the latter.
Jesus Himself submitted to the knowledge He was about to be betrayed by his friend and confidant.
But Jesus could have changed the course of history by not continuing down this road of certain suffering.
Jesus did not predestine Judas in his betrayal and nor did he predestine Peter in denying Him but all the same Jesus knew the choices that they would make ahead of time.
Judas made the decision all by himself to commit treason and the end state of that man was upon his own head.
Mercy came before judgement - he was given the opportunity by Jesus to back out revealing to Judas that Jesus already knew what he was about to do.
Some hold the view that all things are predestined by God and may seem a right doctrine except under close examination for this means that He also causes people to sin.
However, this cannot be as God is holy and pure and does not tempt anyone.
But instead, as we see here, Jesus tries to tempt them out of temptation by telling them the consequences of carrying on their way.
But here comes the pivotal point of the day, after the washing of the disciples feet, the revealing of the betrayer, came what is known to us as The Last Supper before they went out to the Garden of Gethsemane.
Earlier on Jesus had two disciples prepare a room for the Passover which he already knew would be available and so the disciples came together with Jesus to remember the Passover.
The Passover celebrates the time when God delivered Israel from Egypt when they were held in slavery and ten plagues came and struck down Pharaoh, Egypt and the associated gods.
God sent the destroyer through the land to strike the first-born of all who had not sacrificed a lamb and put blood on the lintels of the doorposts.
So the Angels of Death went through the land killing all the first-born but passed over those who had obeyed God’s voice and it became known as The Passover for judgement passed over them.
Now Jesus comes to this same table and says Remember Me.
Now he does not come to this table to disregard what happened all those years before but as a fulfilment of it.
A new lamb was to be sacrificed, a new Passover was about to take place which would take the form of Jesus body and blood.
And all who have the blood are passed over from death to life; from being condemned to being free.
Jesus linked this Passover to his own impending suffering and death.
The original Passover was to deliver from slavery and death but in this one, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world was here to deliver from the slavery of sin and death.
His blood was being poured out into the Holy of Holies upon God’s mercy seat to be an acceptable sacrifice.
Today, we remember the body and blood of Jesus as a memorial for what he has done just as in the same way that there are memorials in every city, town and in most villages and churches of lives lost in the Great Wars.
The memorials are there so that we remember and do not forget and in the same way the Lord’s Supper is an institution to remember what Jesus has done for us.
It leads to repentance, a re-examining of ourselves in the light of remembering and understanding what Jesus has accomplished.
In the same way that he gave thanks, we, too, are brought to thanksgiving.
Jesus makes it clear: Remember me! Remember Jesus’ gift as the Passover Lamb.
Remember how he laid down his life in order to set us free and to give us life.
Remember the betrayal and arrest this night.
Remember the trial.
Remember the crown of thorns, the whipping and the mockery.
Remember carrying the cross.
Remember the nails, the blood, the torn flesh and the agony.
Remember the cry, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ Remember his final breath.
We all have trouble remembering things but we are never to forget what Jesus has done for us.
The whole purpose of remembering the Passover for Jews was so that they could not only remember what God had done but so they could partake of it in some way through the bitter herbs, the eating with haste but before all this there was a search of the house for yeast and making sure none was found.
Yeast represents sin.
It was not simply remembering what God did all those years ago for their ancestors but it was about experiencing what God had done for present Jews too…for each Jew it was about what God had done for them.
It is as if the event was actually taking place at that very moment.
It was part of the Jewish psyche to remember this event and identify with it.
For us, this is also about bringing a 2000 year event into the immediate present.
It is something that God has done for each of us.
In hearing Jesus’ words at the Last Supper it is as if we are hearing the words.
To enter into the reality that Jesus has done it for us.
Through this communion we are identifying ourselves with Jesus in His death.
His death becomes ours.
Today we are remembering the willingness of Jesus, who foreknew all things, to be betrayed.
So as well as giving to the disciples on this day the example of washing one another’s feet He taught us to remember Him this day at the Lord’s Supper.
We now need to spend a little time in thanksgiving and confession, getting rid of the yeast in our lives and making sure there is none that remains.
Gracious God,
As those who strive to follow Jesus in our living
and to trust your power in our dying,
we gather to reflect upon the life that ended on a cross.
We recognise in ourselves the strengths and weaknesses of Jesus’ disciples:
although they loved him, they disappointed and failed him.
And yet, gathering with these imperfect friends at this last meal
Jesus washed their feet in service, and then
extended the bread and cup to each.
Jesus called them to love one another, and invited them to share in his very life
and in his acceptance of the road ahead.
We are humbled, honoured and inspired
by the deep love Christ extended to the world,
and we take seriously the calling to be the body of Christ today.
Forgive us when we disappoint and fail you,
and guide us back to a place of trust and faithful living.
Grant us the vision to see the world as you see it,
with love and compassion for each creature and all of your creation.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, who taught us to pray to you. . .
Our Father….
Here is love (987)
Communion
As we take the bread representing Your life that was broken for us, we remember and celebrate Your faithfulness to us and to all who will receive You.
We can't begin to fathom the agonising suffering of Your crucifixion.
Yet You took that pain for each of us.
You died for me, for us!
Thank You, Jesus.
Thank You for Your extravagant love and unmerited favour.
Thank You that Your death gave us life—abundant life now, and eternal life forever.
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