Maundy Thursday 2023
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Kevin Jud 
April 6, 2023
Exodus 24:3-11, Hebrews 9:11-22, Matthew 26:17-30

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Exodus 12:1–14 (ESV)  1 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2 “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. 3 Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, 6 and you shall keep           it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight. 7 “Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. 10 And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11 In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt. 14 “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. 

            On that first Maundy Thursday in the upper room, Jesus is eating the Passover with His disciples.  It is a remembrance of God delivering the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt.  It remembers the blood of the lambs painted on the doorposts and the lintels of the Israelite houses in Egypt as a sign, so the Lord passed over those houses and did not kill the firstborn of those covered by the blood of the lamb. 

            For 1400 years the Jews celebrated the Passover each year based on the full moon in the month of Nisan, the first month of the year in the Jewish calendar.  Each year the Jews remember that they were delivered from slavery and protected by lamb’s blood. 

Now the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God, the King of the Jews, all Israel reduced to one man, is eating the Passover with His disciples on this momentous night which will end with Jesus arrested and held prisoner at the High Priest’s house. The Lord God commanded His people to eat the Passover meal each year and now on this fateful Thursday evening the Lord God commands you to eat and drink His Body and Blood in Holy Communion.  “Take eat, this is my body.”  Matthew 26:27–28 (ESV) 27… “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”  “This do in remembrance of me.”

            Jesus transitions the Passover into the Lord’s Supper.  The Lord commanded the Passover and the Lord has the authority to make this change.  Jesus takes some elements of the Passover and He institutes Holy Communion.  He starts a new way to deliver the forgiveness of sins from His cross to your body, and commands you to do this.  Jesus gives a new testament in His Body and Blood, a new covenant, sealed in Jesus’ blood which will be shed on the cross and which will be poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins in the Lord’s Supper.  John the Baptist declared about Jesus, John 1:29 (ESV) 29 …“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”  Now the Lamb will shed His blood for the people and deliver His forgiving blood to the people.  

A second means of grace is given on the evening of the day of His resurrection Jesus comes to the disciples in the locked room.  John 20:21–23 (ESV) 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” 

Jesus establishes three means of grace; three ways that the forgiveness of sins is brought from the cross and delivered to you. 

And later, after His resurrection, Jesus adds baptism Matthew 28:16–20 (ESV)  16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” 

Jesus establishes three means of grace; three ways that the forgiveness of sins is brought from the cross and delivered to you.  The three means by which forgiveness gets from the cross to you is by baptism, through the Word of God and through Holy Communion as we see represented in our front window.  On the left the Bible with a cross for the Word of God, in the center the wafer and chalice, the wheat and the grapes for Holy Communion, and on the right a shell and three drops of water for baptism.

            Jesus tells us what to do and so we do what Jesus commands. We baptize and teach.  We forgive.  Each Sunday we gather together to receive the Lord’s gifts.  What a wonderful way to unify the Church, Christians kneeling side by side to together receive the Body and Blood of Jesus in unity in Christ.  You receive the same Body and Blood of Jesus as the person next to you, the same body and blood of Jesus received by Christians here and around the world.  You are unified in Christ.

            At the first Passover meal a lamb was killed and its blood used to protect God’s people from the final plague.  At our celebration of Holy Communion you receive the Body and Blood of the sacrificed Lamb of God to protect you from sin, death and the devil and deliver to you forgiveness and eternal life.  Jesus has given you the great gift of His Supper and commanded you to do it.  And so you do it and receive forgiveness, life and salvation.  Amen.