A New Commandment! John 13:34-35

Series: Lent 2023

April 06, 2023
Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

Maundy Thursday - Jesus gives us a new commandment feeding us with His living flesh and blood that He might live in us and we in Him. He manifests Himself through our love to one another. Sermon text: John 13:34-35. Sermon Theme: "A New Commandment" Preached for Maundy Thursday, 6-April-2023 at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Tell City, Indiana by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

Episode Notes

Maundy Thursday                                                       6-April-2023
Sermon Text: John 13:34-35
Sermon Theme: “A New Commandment”

I.N.R.I. Love saves. Saves through self-sacrifice. The night before God’s great deliverance came, the 14th day of Nissan, the first month of the year in the Jewish calendar. The whole congregation of the children of Israel gathered to slaughter an innocent male lamb without spot or blemish for each household. His shed blood would protect them from death. His roasted flesh would be their feast, strengthening for their march from slavery to the liberty of God’s children. God is love. He sacrifices to save His people.
    The Passover was a yearly memorial meal for the children of Israel. The Passover Lamb was chosen on the 10th of Nissan brought to the priests for inspection. Once the Lamb was found perfect it was kept until the 14th day. Then the congregation would gather and the priests would put the lambs to death pouring the blood on the altar. Its flesh given back to the family to prepare the feast of freedom.
    Jesus had traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover first when He was twelve years old. His step father Joseph was careful to pass the Faith with its words and worship to his children. A loving godly father will raise his children to know God’s Word, teach them to sing the liturgy, and love the hymns of His House. For twenty-one years Jesus made that journey with His family. There would come a time when Joseph’s body lay still in the family tomb still the feast went on. For the last two years Jesus feasted with His twelve disciples. Two of them were former disciples of John the Baptist. He pointed to Jesus and excitedly told them, Joh 1:29 , "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John and Andrew left the Baptizer to follow Jesus.
    John the baptizer, a priestly descendant of Aaron, identified Jesus as the Sin-Bearer through the waters of holy baptism. Love was sent by His Father to be the sacrifice to save all sinful mankind. Now the Passover will find its fulfillment in Jesus’ flesh and blood poured out on the altar of the cross. Listen to your Redeemer as His feast frees to live: “A New Commandment!”
    The apostle John’s eyewitness account of Passover gives us more detail of our Lord’s interactions with His disciples at this meal. We hear Jesus speak: (Jn 13:34) Matthew, Mark, and Luke all report of Jesus’ break from the liturgy of the Passover gifting us His body and blood in bread and wine. St. Paul , instructed by our crucified risen ascended and present Lord Jesus confirms Christ’s gift. When we are asked, “What is the Sacrament of the Altar?” we confess:” It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and to drink.” How do we know this is true? “The holy Evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and St. Paul write: Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: "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 after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." Love doesn’t lie. Jesus is the Truth. His Words cannot be broken. Unlike Satanic lies and delusions - Jesus says what He means and means what He says. “This IS My body, given FOR YOU!” His full crucified risen glorified body is present in the bread of His supper. It is given FOR YOU! That you might live in Him and He in you.
    Sin turns us inward to trust in what we feel, see, think, and say. Satan took us captive through speaking lying words to our first parents. He promised them unlimited power to make up our own rules for reality. The Lie enslaved us to the fallen angel. Shame covered us that couldn’t be hidden by our fig leaf clothing. Enslaved in the devil’s darkness - we shuddered when Love - the Light - of the world came seeking to rescue us calling us back to Himself. “Where are you?” “What have you done?” In Adam we shuddered and hid with Satan from the voice of the Truth and the Life. Our fallen flesh was comfortable in Satan’s lie dwelling in the darkness of death and sin - isolated alone from our Creator imprisoned in selfishness.
      Love doesn’t leave us to rot. His Word of Promise set us at war with Satan, the world, and our own fallen flesh. Instead of peace with darkness, the sword of His Word sets us at war against the lie. Love will save us through His own self-sacrifice. He promises to become one with us - taking on our flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mother. He will sacrifice Himself to crush Satan’s head and stop his lying tongue. He will take all of our sin and death into His innocent flesh to reconcile us with our God and Father.
      A new commandment...not to love your neighbor as yourself....but to love fellow Christians as Christ loves us sinners giving Himself into our sin, suffering, hell, and death to save us. Love as the Creator loves you. At the Last Passover Supper He loves. The disciples argue about which of them will be the greatest. Our sinful flesh plays this fatal game tearing apart marriages, families, congregations, and nations. King Love humbly serves. History records: (Jn 13:1-5) The hour for our deliverance through Christ’s sacrifice had arrived. His sacrifice would reconcile fallen sinners with their heavenly Father. He loves His own who are in this world. He loves you. How do you know? Trust His Word! He chose you saying, “I baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” He chose you! He loves you to the end! He loves His betrayer Judas and will suffer and die for his sin.
      Jesus knows what will happen. Love trusts the Father’s good and gracious will. Love runs in the path of our Creator’s Holy Ten Commandments. Love will expose Judas as the betrayer seeking to reclaim him. Love doesn’t rejoice in evil. Behold the King of Creation the perfect Man - humbles Himself to wash the dirt off of His disciples feet. Love takes our dirt into Himself. Love doesn’t reform sin into an acceptable lifestyle - He kills it in His own flesh nailed to the cross FOR YOU.
      Love as Jesus loves you with all your dirt, filth, and sin. He stoops to wash it away. (Jn 13:6-11) Peter objects to be served by Love. If you are not washed by Jesus - you will not be saved. Immersion isn’t needed, Jesus washes with water and His Word. The rosy red water and blood the gushes from His sacrificed side on Calvary makes you clean again and again and again. Daily and richly God the Holy Spirit applies to you the fruit of the cross within Christ’s Church - forgiveness of sins. Jesus’ action alone make us clean - not our own. Still He washes even Judas’ feet applying hope and healing to a man who sold himself into sin.
      (Jn 13:34) This new commandment seems impossible. (Jn 13:12-15) The Teacher becomes the slave to sinful men to rescue us from all sin, from death, and from the power of the devil. The price of your redemption wasn’t all the world’s gold and silver. Only the God-Man’s holy precious blood and the innocent suffering and death of His body given and shed for us can save us.
        Jesus isn’t instituting a new sacrament of foot washing. He frees us through His flesh and blood to die to self and rise to love one another - His love flowing through us in humble service as we care for one another. His love frees us to forgive those who sin against us as He forgives us. Instead of foot washing - He invites us to His table to eat of His living flesh and drink of His living blood - He unites us to Himself. Why come to Church? Why come to the Lord’s Table? “These words, "Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins," shows us that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation. “
    By your own reason and strength you cannot love the fellow sinners of your congregation as Jesus loves them. You need to die in Christ and rise to new life in Him. Learn to say with Paul, “Gal 2:19-20 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. (20) I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Love’s flesh and blood placed upon your lips in bread and wine are the food of immortality - they fortify you with His love and fulfill in you His New Commandment. Hear Him! (Jn 13:34-35) Love fills us with new life - His Life given and shed for you. His Life risen, ascended, glorified, filling all things - fully present in consecrated bread and wine. Love frees you to love as He loves you! Love frees you to forgive as He forgives you! Love fills you with hope. Here you show forth His love until He returns on the Final Day to bring you to the everlasting feast in the Life of the World to Come.
      Christ Jesus is Love - His Word, His baptism, His absolution, His Supper are the lifelines of His love into loveless sinners such as I. He is the Vine by grace He grafts you into Himself that you bear the fruit of love, joy, and peace to others. He still is among us here as one who serves sinners by His Holy Spirit through the Gospel spoken, visible, and in the mutual conversation and consolation of the saints within our congregation. Love saves! Saves You from sin and selfishness to follow Him! Dr. Luther reflects this truth in his post communion prayer: “We give thanks to You, almighty God, that You have refreshed us through this salutary gift, and we implore You that of Your mercy You would strengthen us through the same in faith toward You and in fervent love toward one another; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.”

Content Copyright Belongs to Emmanuel Lutheran Church