Sermon for Lent Midweek 1

Sermon for Lent Midweek 1

(Transcribed by machine 04/08/2024)

In the name of Jesus, amen.
Dear saints, we are about 15 hours before our Lord breathes his last and dies on the
cross.
It is Holy Thursday.
The disciples have traveled with Jesus to Jerusalem, something that they were nervous
about doing for weeks and weeks.
Remember, Jesus had to talk them into going even to Bethany to rescue Lazarus.
They’re trying to kill you, Lord, and Jesus was telling them, yes?
right. It’s necessary for the Son of Man to go into Jerusalem to suffer many
things at the hands of the scribes and to even be killed and then to rise on
the third day. Three times He predicts this to them and finally at
last they go with Him. They travel every day during Holy Week back and forth
between Bethany and Jerusalem until at last on this holy Thursday Jesus
sends them into the holy city to make preparation in the upper room for the
feast that he would eat with them, the last meal that he would have until he
tastes the gall a few minutes before he breathes his last. I have to think that
the disciples knew that things were getting intense. They’re always, you know,
the disciples arguing about who’s the greatest, about who’s gonna sit with
Jesus on His right hand and on His left when they enter into the kingdom.
They’re always wondering about keeping the different pharisaical laws, and their minds
are always on these sorts of things.
But I have to think that now, in these last hours, they knew as they looked at Jesus,
as they listened to Him, as they watched what He was doing, that they knew that there was
a seriousness about all of His words and actions.
In fact, you really start to get the sense that when Jesus, at the end of the Passover
meal, stands up from the meal, takes off his outer robe, and wraps a towel around his waist,
and goes and gets a water jar, a bowl, and starts to wash their feet.
I’ve seen in my life, I haven’t been able to find it since, but I’ve seen in my life
picture of Jesus washing the disciples feet that has Peter sitting there with
his hands buried in his head like this as Jesus was washing his feet. Remember as
the Lord came to Peter he says no you Lord you can’t you can’t do this you
can’t wash my feet and here Peter still hanging on to the idea of some sort of
earthly glory knows that if anybody should be washing feet it should be him
But He wasn’t about to do it, that was humble servant’s work, but here’s Jesus, the Lord
of all, washing the disciples’ feet.
And Jesus rebukes him.
I don’t think it’s a harsh rebuke, I think it’s got to be with love in His voice when
Jesus looks up to Peter and says, unless I wash you, you have no part of Me.
Peter goes overboard on the other side of the boat like he always does, I suppose, and
And he says, well, Lord, then don’t just wash my feet,
wash my whole body.
Jesus settles him down and says,
look, Peter, your body’s clean.
Only your feet need to be washed.
You are clean, he says, because of the word
that’s spoken to you, but not all of you.
And in that little word, we start to get a hint
that Jesus is pointing out that one of those
who’s there at the table with him,
I mean, this is a pretty close band,
and they’ve been together day and night
for at least the last year and a half, maybe two and a half years, they’ve been together
all the time, but that one of them will betray him, but one of you is not clean.
He was speaking of Judas.
But it’s after this that Jesus washes the disciples’ feet, that he gets up from the
table, he puts back on his robe, and then he takes bread and he breaks it.
And he gives it to them saying, this is my body, this is given for you.
And He took the cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying,
this is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness
of sins.
And there the disciples are eating the body and drinking the blood of Jesus and
contemplating what is meant by all of these things, and especially this promise,
the forgiveness of sins.
But one at the table would betray Him.
John, Peter is across the table, and Jesus had said it again.
And it’s important for us to meditate on this truth that Judas was there at the table, that
Judas communed, and it might be in connection to the communion of Judas that the devil,
it says, enters into his heart.
John was leaning back against Jesus at the table when these things were happening, and
Peter kind of motions across the table and says, who’s it going to be?
And John leans back and says to Peter, because they’re all denying it, I won’t betray you,
I won’t betray you.
In fact, that’s how the text ends tonight.
All the disciples sure that they’re not gonna be
the ones to betray Jesus.
And Jesus says, the one who dips his bread in the cup.
I don’t know exactly how it would have happened
because that dipping of the bread into the cup
must have immediately followed
that maybe Jesus hands the cup to Judas
and Judas dips his bread into the cup
and Jesus says, the one who dips his bread in the cup
and Judas knows that it’s him
and Jesus turns to him and says,
whatever you do, do quickly.
it happened in such a way that the disciples didn’t even know what was
happening. So when Judas leaves, they don’t think, oh he’s going to betray
Jesus, but rather they think, oh he’s going to take care of some of the
treasurer stuff, that’s what Judas was in charge of the money anyways. And Judas
leaves to go and find the band of soldiers that would eventually come to
the garden and arrest Jesus there. And then having sent Judas away, Jesus turns
the disciples and says to them, in my Father’s house are many places and I’m
going to prepare a place for you so that where I am, there you
may be also. He gives them all of these great promises and then they sing a hymn
and they stand up and leave the upper room and go out into the garden. Before
they go, Jesus turns to the disciples and he says, remember how I took you, I sent
you out without a sword and without sandals and without a money bag? Did you
need anything at all? And they said, nothing Lord, we were taken care of,
everything that we needed was there provided. But Jesus says to them, grab a
sword. Things are about to get messy. And he warns, in fact, he warns Peter, he
tells Peter that the devil has asked for him to sift him like wheat, but that Jesus
has prayed for him and after he’s restored he should comfort his brothers.
But Peter denies it. Lord, even if they all betray, can you imagine Peter, this
It’s serious, it’s so serious it’s hard to laugh,
but it almost, I mean, every time Peter opens his mouth,
you can’t hardly help but smile.
The text says, Peter denied it this way.
He says, even if they all deny you, I won’t.
And they all say, wait, Peter, what are you talking about?
And they start to deny it as well.
Lord, we’re gonna remain true.
Lord, we’re with you.
Lord, we’ll never abandon you.
until about 20 minutes later when they’re sleeping while he prays and
maybe an hour later when they run off when Jesus is arrested. So begins the
passion of our Lord Jesus, his night of abuse and scorn, the trials before the
Sanhedrin and Pilate and Herod and Pilate that will end in his being nailed
to the cross. And as we contemplate it, we have to think to ourselves, why did all of
this happen? There’s a lot of bad guys. We might be tempted to get mad at Judas. How
could you, Judas? They all trusted you. They all relied on you. How could you do it? And
for 30 pieces of silver? Come on! Or we might get mad at Peter. Peter, Jesus told you that
you were going to deny Him three times before the rooster crowed. He gave you warning. Why
couldn’t you have watched and prayed and been strong to prevent it? Or we might get mad
at the Sanhedrin, Caiaphas and Annas and all of their crowd who were so addicted to their
own pleasure and wealth and their own way of life that they couldn’t stand the preaching
of Jesus, and they had to silence Him no matter what, or Pilate, who knew it was wrong, to
sentence this man to crucifixion, tried to wash his hands as if you could just do it
that easily.
We might blame Jesus.
Lord, why, remember how we had the transfiguration a few weeks ago?
Why didn’t you just transfigure yourself then and get you out of this mess?
You know that the angels were waiting to rescue you.
why didn’t you just, you know, zap away like you could have? But as we mourn the
events of this Maundy Thursday and Good Friday as we consider it during Lent, we
have to remember that this is precisely what Jesus himself wanted. He was there
kneeling on the floor with a towel, washing between the toes of his disciples
because that’s what Jesus does. He was there breaking the bread and giving
thanks and pouring out his blood with the promise of the forgiveness of sins
because that’s what Jesus does. He was there comforting them and blessing them
and speaking these promises to them and praying in the garden and bleeding great
drops of blood and even being nailed to the cross and all of this because that’s
why he came, that’s what he’s for. He is the Messiah, the Savior, the friend of
sinners, the one who came to deliver us.
And all of these things, as bad as they seem to us, as deep and profound as the
suffering that Jesus endures seems to us, we have to know as we contemplate it
tonight and every night and Lent, that all of this is just what Jesus wanted.
Because if he could have avoided the suffering and avoided the trouble and
avoided all of that but lost you, the choice for him is easy. When Jesus says,
I go to prepare a place for you, he doesn’t mean that he’s ascending into
heaven to make it bigger so that there’s room. He means he’s going to die so that
through his suffering and death there is a place for sinners to dwell with God in
His holiness, and His perfection, and His righteousness, you can live forever because
He gives it to you as a gift.
So we rejoice.
The One who came not to be served but to serve loved His disciples and loved them all the
way to the end.
And that same Jesus is here tonight to serve us, to feed us the same body, to
pour out the same blood, to make us share in the same forgiveness and salvation
and life that never ends. God be praised that Christ is the suffering servant for
you. Amen. The peace of God which passes all understanding, guard your hearts and
minds through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.