Sunday, April 26, 2009

“His Legacy” Mark 14:22-24

S-1114 4/08/09 MT./3B Hymns: (O)153; 307; (S) 156; L.S. 309; 311; 308; (C) #159

Texts Psalm 8; Exodus 24:3-11; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; Mark 14:12-26

Theme: “His Legacy(7th sermon series in Lent on HIStory, Mark 14:22-24)

Question: “What Legacy would you like to leave for your family?


(in the center of the Sacristy there will be a table with an ornate chalice from Bethlehem and loaf of Pita bread)

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen! Indeed! Alleluia! The text for Maundy Thursday is from the Gospel lesson: “And as they were eating, He took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is My body.’ And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And He said to them, ‘This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many’” (Mark 14:22-24).

Saints in Christ, according to the dictionary, “legacy” is 1. “Money or property left to someone by a will or bequest” and 2. “Anything handed down from an ancestor”. Sometimes you and I wish we have someone to leave us something. How many times have you thought or said, “I wished a long distance relative would leave me his inheritance?”

All over the world the wise people desire to leave a legacy behind for their children and grandchildren. They work hard to make sure that their earthly belongings are distributed to the ones they love. They establish an account that is given to their heirs at the proper age so they don’t spend it all in one day. Some seek counsel from an attorney or financial consultant to avoid paying taxes or the least amount of taxes on what they have earned.

But there are others who say, “I am not leaving anything to those who follow me. I have worked hard for what I got and no way am I giving it away!” You may have even seen the bumper sticker that says: “I am spending my grandchildren’s inheritance.” We laugh at this when we see it. Even Solomon the richest man in his day wrote these words: “I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity”. (Eccl. 2:18-19).

Solomon spoke his heart when he said, “I don’t know if I want to leave ALL to someone after me, because I am not sure if they will be wise in what I have handed to them.” The truth is earthly riches don’t last. Possessions, property, and profits can be taken away from us as is happening now with the retirement accounts; stolen by thieves, squandered by descendants or destroyed by events such as fire, earthquake and hurricane.

But as we look at the text that is before for this Maundy Thursday, we learn from St. Mark that King Jesus has a legacy for us. This legacy is given to His heirs in love. This legacy can’t be stolen, taken away, or destroyed. This legacy is for now and forever. In love, King Jesus worked hard to leave this legacy for us. To earn our legacy, Jesus went to the cross, and on the cross He endured the punishment of hell and the separation of His Father—as the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the world. King Jesus as the Lamb of God shed His blood as the payment of the world’s sins. Forgiveness was the rich treasure He would win and leave for all people.

This forgiveness our King offers in a very special way. On that Thursday so long ago as He was celebrating the Passover with His disciples on the night before He went to Calvary, He left His forgiveness in a unique form. In a few hours King Jesus would be betrayed, beaten, brought low; and bludgeoned by the soldiers, yet, in that very moment he was doing something most amazing and wonderful. (Walk over to the table in the center of the chancel and break the bread and lift the cup) Taking the unleavened bread and the cup of wine on the table, He gave them to His disciples and said, “Take it; this is my body given for YOU. . . . This is my blood of the covenant shed for YOU.” Miraculously, but really, He gave them His body and blood along with that bread for the forgiveness of all their sins.

The legacy King Jesus left us is tangible, touchable, and tasteable. It is a legacy that gives forgiveness to help us know that His love for us is not conditional, but unconditional. His love is real. It is anchored in the activity He carried out on that Passover night before He was betrayed.

What a legacy! Jesus knew how often His followers would be weak and wobbly, how often their faith would flicker and fade how often they would need to be forgiven. So He gave them the miracle of His Holy Supper. In that Supper along with the bread and the wine He gives us the very body and blood He used to prepare forgiveness. Who can doubt that sins are gone and heaven opened as he receives the very body and blood of His Savior?

Here in this place, at this altar you will receive the Legacy Jesus has left YOU. Tonight, you will kneel and hold in your hand and take into your mouth the living legacy of Jesus And this altar on which the Holy Supper is celebrated becomes your pulpit—the pulpit of the laity when you, as true spiritual priests proclaim the virtue and value of Him who called you from the darkness of sin into His wonderful light.

I, as the preacher, proclaim the crucified Christ in my sermon from this pulpit, and when that sermon has ended, you the believing congregation gathers at the altar to proclaim Him as well. You proclaim liberty from sin. You proclaim freedom from fear. You proclaim life from death. You proclaim salvation from satan. You the laity become the preachers to the world, declaring that in faith you take hold of this blessed legacy King Jesus has left you.

What do you do with a legacy? Lock it away in a bank vault, stash it on a closet shelf, or squander it? No! No! And No! It is much better when new sins alarm us and old guilt won’t let go; far better when faith needs feeding and Christian muscles need messaging that we cry to Him to strengthen our faith. And by His love and mercy He moves us to come and kneel/stand at His table so that we may hear Him tell us again, “Here, this IS My body; I gave it for YOU. Here, this IS My blood; I shed it for YOU. YOUR sins are forgiven. YOU depart in peace.”

People all over the world have left for their children and loved ones legacies to be remembered by. But no matter how much possessions, properties and profits are left, they pale in comparison to the LEGACY King Jesus has left us—His legacy is a legacy for time and season because each day it assures us that we are His forgiven children, heirs to His throne.

This legacy IS for YOU. In this we see that the word IS still applies. That bread still IS the body of Christ. That cup still IS the blood of Christ’s testament. This is given and shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins. Did you hear that? When this body is in your mouth and this blood is on your lips, your sins are removed. The guilt and stain and the pursuant death that goes with it “passes over” you. That death was assigned to Jesus. He already did it for you. And tonight, on this totally extra-ordinary Maundy Thursday, death passes over you yet again.

In pardon and peace we are invited to taste and see just how good the Lord God is to us. And this is no memorial meal. It is the REAL deal. His Body and His Blood given and shed for you! This IS no ordinary dinner party. This IS nothing other than forgiveness, life and salvation, all wrapped up in the trappings of an Old tradition made new. The very Jesus that bids us to Take, eat and drink.

What a blessing to gather in the Lord’s house tonight, dine as His guest at His table and celebrate the gift of life and the forgiveness of sins He has earned for us in His suffering, crucifixion and glorious resurrection. When we leave here, by faith, may we tell the world that our King has left us a wondrous legacy! As we use it regularly, we can’t help but exclaim, “He’s a King indeed! He’s King of kings and Lord of lords!” Amen.

Now the peace…

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