Sermon Text: Mark 14:12-26
Sermon Theme: Tonight We Enjoy a Feast!
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” (Mark 14:22-24)
What picture does your mind pain when you think of a feast? Maybe you think of the meal that you are planning for this coming Sunday; a table filled to over-flowing with food, with people sitting all round the table laughing and talking with one another, enjoying the meal and their time together.
Tonight, you and I have the opportunity to enjoy a meal that at first glance doesn’t look like much of a feast. There are only two simple items set on the table; bread in the form of small wafers and some wine. It doesn’t look like a great banquet that is set before us. It doesn’t look like a lavish dinner. But it is a celebration meal. On this Maundy Thursday, TONIGHT WE ENJOY A FEAST!
Perhaps it is an obvious point to make, but it is important to note the fact that as Jesus gives us this feast to enjoy, he does so to sinners; sinners like you and me. Although it may be obvious, we do not want to overlook this important point. We know from God’s Word that you and I are born into this world sinful. By doing a quick review of how we live our lives day after day, you and I know that this sin shows itself in our thoughts, words and actions that are contrary to God’s will. And this sin and sinfulness makes you and me worthy only of a life that will not end in hell!
So how can you and I hope to be saved? You and I are tempted by our Old Adam to think that our obedience to the Law of God is the way to get into heaven. One line of thought might go something like this tonight: if I ignore all the other opportunities I have to attend worship and to receive the Lord’s Supper throughout the year, but then I come to Communion on Maundy Thursday, then God will be happy with my effort and let me into heaven.
Or, we may be tempted to have the opposite attitude which thinks that because I am always in worship and I never miss an opportunity to come to the Lord’s Supper when it is offered, that this somehow will make God happy enough so he will let me into heaven.
Either way of thinking is sinful. It is important for you and me to remember that all of your efforts and mine simply cannot measure up to God’s standard of perfection. You and I need to put aside the thoughts that we somehow are able to earn God’s favor or our forgiveness.
In the Lord’s Supper, we see with our own eyes and taste with our own lips that Jesus Christ freely gives you and me all that we need for the complete forgiveness of all of our sins. As the disciples ate the Passover meal that night with the Savior, Jesus did something which was not normally done. God’s Word tells us, “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take it; this is my body.’ Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,’ he said to them.”
As you and I prepare to come forward this evening and enjoy this feast the Lord has prepared for us, we pause to recognize just what it is that is being given to us. Yes, it is bread and wine. But it is also the body and blood of our Lord and Savior! It is the very body and blood that he gave up on the cross as the full payment price for all your sins and mine.
This is a miracle that you and I are not able to understand completely. Based on the Word of God and our Savior’s own words when he first gave us this feast, all that you and I are able to do is confess along with Dr. Martin Luther as he writes in his Small Catechism, “It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ for us Christians to eat and to drink… [as we do] we receive forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation in this sacrament. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.”
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, tonight we enjoy a feast! And whether you receive the Sacrament tonight while standing on the floor or kneeling at the rail, a gracious Savior-God offers to you personally the life-giving gifts of the Gospel. What a wonderful blessing to be invited to this feast by Jesus himself! By grace, you and I are able to say: “My Lord gave up his body FOR ME. Jesus shed his blood FOR ME. Thank-you, dear Lord Jesus!” Amen.