120405 Mark 14:12-24

Last Updated on Saturday, 23 June 2012 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Sermon Text: Mark 14:12-24

Sermon Theme: Watch and Listen as Jesus Gives Us His Last Will and Testament!

Before the reading of a person's will, sometimes there are several questions which come up: What is in the estate? Which relatives and friends will get a portion of the inheritance? Will there be any kind of fighting among family members after the reading of the will? Whatever the end result, the terms of the will stand as a lasting, unchangeable and legal witness to the desires of the one who died. From God's Word before us from the Gospel of Mark, we will be there with Jesus as gives to his disciples of all time the meal we have come to know as "The Lord's Supper." This evening, you and I Watch and Listen as Jesus Gives Us His Last Will and Testament!

On the night that our Savior gives us his last will and testament in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, Jesus and his disciples were celebrating the Passover. The Passover was an important part of Old Testament Israel's worship life. This annual meal was a time for the people of Israel to remember God's grace to them, as he rescued them from death and freed them from captivity in Egypt. The book of Exodus tells us that on the First Passover a perfect year-old lamb was killed, and its blood was smeared on the doorframes of the houses. Then, when the angel of death came to Egypt, he "passed over" all the houses that had blood on the doorframes. In a very real way, we are able to say that the blood of the lamb saved those in the house. A short time later, the Children of Israel were freed from captivity. The Lord commanded that his people were to celebrate the Passover year after year. Not only was this celebration a time for them to remember all that the gracious Lord had done for them as he freed them from their captivity in Egypt, but the lamb sacrificed for the Passover meal clearly pointed ahead to the Lamb of God, who would save the world through his blood; the Lamb, who would free people from the captivity to sin.

Perhaps it is an obvious point to make, but we want to note the fact that as we watch and listen as Jesus gives his last will and testament, 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 we are born into this world sinful. By doing a quick review of how we live our lives day after day, we know that this sin shows itself in our thoughts, words and actions that are contrary to God's will. So how can you and I hope to be saved? We are tempted to think that our obedience to the Law of God is the way to get into heaven. One line of thought goes something like this: that if I ignore all the opportunities I have to attend worship and to receive the Lord's Supper through the year, but if 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 because I am always in worship and I come to the Lord's Supper very often, that this somehow will make God happy so he will let me into heaven. Either way of thinking is similar to the friend or family member who thinks that he or she deserves a portion of the inheritance because of the good things they did for the person who now is dead. Yet it is important for you and me to remember that all of our efforts, stained by sin, simply cannot measure up to God's standard of holiness. You and I need to put aside the thoughts that we somehow are able to earn God's favor. 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 eternal life.

As the disciples ate the Passover meal that night, 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 we prepare to come forward this evening and partake of the Lord's Supper, we are to recognize just what it is that is being given to us. What did Jesus give to the disciples? He gave them bread and wine. He also gave them his body and blood. It was then and it still is each time we celebrate the Lord's Supper a miracle that you and I are not able to understand completely. The Passover meal was now given new importance. It was no longer an Old Testament Law which had to be kept. It is now to be a lasting proclamation of the rich Gospel message of full and free forgiveness through Jesus' own body and blood. The writer of the book of Hebrews provides a commentary on Jesus' last will and testament. In the ninth chapter we read: "For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance-now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. . . . And without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." It is the body and blood of Jesus which has made our inheritance of eternal life in heaven sure and certain.

If we think about, a will is really a promise. The one who makes a will promises an inheritance to the heirs. In the case of Jesus, his promise is the forgiveness of all of our sins. His promise is that he has made us part of God's family and won for us the eternal inheritance of a perfect life at his side in heaven. We also know that rereading a will never changes the terms of a will. No matter how many times we read it, the will always remains the same. In the same way, each time we receive the Lord's Supper nothing changes. Time after time, whether we receive the Sacrament here in God's House, or as a shut-in in our own homes or as a patient in the hospital; whether we receive the Sacrament at the rail or while standing on the floor, a gracious Savior-God offers to each one of us personally the life-giving gifts of the Gospel. What a wonderful blessing to be considered the heirs of our one and only Savior! By grace, you and I are able to say: "Jesus gave up his body and shed his blood for me. Thank-you, dear Lord Jesus!" Amen.

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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