Thursday, February 21, 2013

Midweek Lenten Sermon for 20 February 2013 before Compline

The Rev. Paul J Cain, Jr.
The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ Drawn from the Four Gospels (LSB/ESV)
Wednesday of Lent I, 20 February 2013
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ Drawn from the Four Gospels:

Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, also called the Passover, drew near, and Jesus said to his disciples: “You know that after two days is the Feast of the Passover, and the Son of Man will be given over to be crucified.”
Then the chief priests and scribes assembled with the elders of the people in the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and consulted how they might take Jesus craftily and put him to death. But they said, “Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people,” for they feared the people.
Then Satan entered into Judas, surnamed Iscariot, one of the Twelve. He went his way to the chief priests and captains and spoke together with them how he might betray Jesus to them. They were glad to hear him. He said to them, “What will you give me to betray him to you?” They promised to give him money and agreed with him for thirty pieces of silver. He accepted, and from that time he sought opportunity to betray him in the absence of the multitude.
Then came the first day of Unleavened Bread when they sacrificed the Passover lamb. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover, that we may eat it.” They said to him, “Where do you want us to prepare it?”
He said to them, “Go into the city and, when you have entered the city, watch for a man bearing a pitcher of water. When he meets you, follow him into the house where he enters. You shall say to the man who lives there, ‘The Master says to you, “My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house. Where is room for me to eat the Passover with my disciples?”‘ And he will show you a large upper room, furnished and prepared; there make ready for us.” The disciples did as Jesus had directed them. They came into the city and found it as he had told them; and they made ready the Passover.
When the hour was come, Jesus sat down and the apostles with him. As they were eating, he said, “I have longed to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for I say to you I shall not eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” As they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you. This do in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you; this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. “Truly I say to you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in the kingdom of my Father.”
There was also a strife among them as to which of them should be accounted the greatest. He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ It shall not be so among you. He that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that serves. For who is greater, he that sits at the table or he that serves? Is it not he that sits at the table? But I am among you as a servant. You are they who have continued with me in my temptations. I appoint you to a kingdom, as my Father has appointed me. You shall eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Jesus knew that his hour was come to depart from the world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who are in the world, he loved them to the end. Already Satan had put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him. Jesus knew that the Father had given all things into his hands and that he had come from God and was going to God. He rose from supper, laid aside his garments, and girded himself with a towel. He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded.
When he came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not know now, but after these things you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.” Jesus said to him, “He who has been bathed does not need to wash more than his feet, for he is clean altogether. You are clean, but not all of you.” He knew who was to betray him; that was why he said not every one was clean.
So after he had washed their feet and taken his garments and sat down again, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me the Master and the Lord, and it is good that you say this, for so I am. If I, then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. I have done this to show you the way to do as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his lord; neither is he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If you know these things, happy are you if you do them. “I do not speak of you all; I know whom I have chosen. The Scripture must be fulfilled, ‘He that eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me.’ Already now I tell you of this, before it happens, so that when it does happen you may believe that I am he. “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives anyone whom I shall send, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives him who sent me.”
When Jesus had said these things, his spirit was in turmoil. He bore witness and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you that one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another dumbfounded about whom he spoke. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was leaning on Jesus’ bosom. Simon Peter said to him, “Ask who it is of whom he is speaking.” That disciple who was reclining on Jesus’ chest said to him, “Lord, who is it?”
Jesus then answered, “It is the one to whom I shall give the piece of bread after I have dipped it.” He dipped the piece of bread he had in his hand and gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. After the piece of bread had been dipped, Satan entered into that one. Jesus said to him, “What you are doing, do quickly.”
No one at the table knew what the purpose was of what Jesus had said to him. Because Judas kept the money bag, some thought Jesus had told him to buy what was needed for the feast or to give something to the poor. When that man had received the piece of bread, he went out immediately, and it was night.
When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and in him God is glorified. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify him in himself, and at once he will glorify him.
“Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you. For this I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but afterwards you will follow me.”
Here ends the Reading.

Peter would not be crucified next to Jesus—that was reserved for the two thieves. Peter would deny Jesus-this we know-but Peter’s outcome would be different than that of Judas. Peter would remember Jesus’ words. After the Resurrection, Peter would again follow Jesus. He would say that he loved Jesus and would feed Jesus’ lambs and sheep beginning at Jerusalem. The message spread to the ends of the earth—even Rome. And Peter would follow our Lord to a cross. Scripture is silent on this point, but reliable ancient historians say that Peter would follow his Lord in a martyr’s death at Rome—crucified upside-down. He allegedly requested this—to differentiate his suffering from that of Jesus.
In the Words of Institution of Holy Communion Jesus speaks about His suffering to come. “Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you. This do in remembrance of me.” “Drink of it, all of you; this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” Christians remember the Lord’s death when we partake of His Body and Blood. You know that a sacrifice has taken place when Body and Blood are separated. We remember His death when we see a cross or crucifix.
But even more important is how Jesus remembers us. “This do in remembrance of Me,” He said. That could also be translated in this way: “Do this in My Remembrance.” Who is doing the remembering? Most importantly, it is Christ who does the remembering. He remembers His Passion, crucifixion, and death for you. He remembers His Resurrection—for you, too will rise. Jesus remembers His promises to you, His people, to be gracious, merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. No, Jesus is no longer in the manger, on the cross, or in the tomb, but He was—for you and your salvation. That’s why they are important to see and remember. He shows His love with His arms open wide on the cross.
That is why He suffered betrayal. That is why He came to wash the disciples’ feet. He came as a servant, not to be served. We serve others best only when He fills us with Himself.
Each Lenten Midweek service this year we will focus upon Jesus and His Passion, suffered for us. The Passion Narrative, provided by Lutheran Service Book, draws out all of the rich detail of all four Gospel accounts: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Following the Procession on Palm Sunday, the focus of the day turns to the reading of the Passion according to St. Luke, the Gospel account featured this year most Sundays. On Good Friday, we will hear the Passion according to St. John.
Lent is a time for personal examination, repentance, and faith, but the focus is not on ourselves. It is always on Jesus, Jesus, only Jesus.
Next week, we follow our Lord to GETHSEMANE. Amen.

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.