“He Earnestly Desired”

Maundy Thursday
“He Earnestly Desired”
April 18, 2019

Sermon Text: Luke 22:7-20

Peace be unto you from the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, Christ Jesus. Amen.

“And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, ‘I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.’” (Luke 22:15)  So far, our text.

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

One can hardly overstate the sense in the original Greek where our Lord says that He “earnestly desired” to eat the Passover meal there in that upper room on the night He was betrayed. He so wanted to partake of the same. He craved the same.

Yes, He had partaken of the Passover meal all of His life here on earth. But this meal was different. This meal was special because it takes place before His Passion.

“I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer,” He said.

Christ didn’t desire to suffer. Who would? He was, however, resolute in carrying out the divine plan… determined to do His Father’s willH… even before leaving His throne on high… because He knew it was the only way… the cross was the only way to affect our salvation and that of all mankind.

Our Lord long ago steadfastly set His face toward Jerusalem and to the cross. And now, the intense suffering, excruciating pain, and unimaginable humiliation involved in the same were only hours away.

But before it all happens, Jesus earnestly desired to eat THIS Passover meal! THIS one! Like no other as the apostles soon discovered.

Yes, no doubt, the prepared lamb was there, the unleavened bread, the bitter herbs and various symbolic cups of wine. And probably the words were spoken as done year after year, century after century, recounting the glorious story of how the Lord God mightily saved His people from the hand of Pharaoh.

But THIS time… THIS Passover, our Lord “took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.’”

There and then, for the first time, disciples of the Lord partook of the Holy Supper… the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. For the first time, they ate the very Body of Christ. For the first time, they drank the true Blood of Christ… the mystical Body and Blood of the very Son of God in, with and under the bread and the wine.

Oh, how our Lord earnestly desired to give this Sacred Meal to His followers then and throughout all time, including this very night. For in this Supper there is forgiveness of all sins. In this Supper there is rescue from death and the devil. In this Supper there is eternal life… all of which Christ earnestly desires that we have… that we all partake of.

To think, our Lord in this upper room gave His Body and Blood in the Supper and then hours later on the cross. In both cases, it was real. It was really Christ… His Body and Blood… given and shed for the remission of all of our sins. It will be no different tonight, my friends… or any time the Holy Sacrament is distributed.

To think, Christ earnestly desired for us to have the same, partake of the same because here is life… here is the antidote for death… for every disease and every transgression.

How precious this is because of how precious He… Jesus Christ… is! Precious and priceless. And again and again we earnestly desire to receive this Sacrament to our soul’s health and for the great peace found in the same.

Understanding what is here given and bestowed upon us, we would never think to approach this table and partake of this Supper without proper contemplation of the same… without proper examination… without great reverence… in full realization of that which we eat and drink.

My friends, the Sacrament of the Altar, along with the Word of God and the Sacrament of Holy Baptism are the great treasures of the Church… truly the highest of treasures.

You know, I read with sadness about the hoopla surrounding the Paris fire chaplain who saved the supposed holy relic… the crown of thorns which were said to be the one Christ wore at His Passion.

My sadness is over how so many people overlook or dismiss the true means of grace which the Lord specifically gave to them and to us. He never gave us His crown of thorns and why would He in that what is ours is the crown of eternal life soon to be laid on all of our heads.

Why focus on relics and artifacts from times gone by when we have that which is timeless? And even these things, the true means of grace, we do not worship or adore, but only the One who lovingly gave it to us… the One who earnestly desired that we have them… that we have it all. Amen.

May the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, unto life everlasting. Amen.

“He Earnestly Desired   4/18/19  The Rev. Mark H Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL.