Friday, September 9, 2011

“Broken BREAD”

S-1248 MT/3A 04/21/11, (O) LSB #445, (S) #312, L.S. LSB # 629, #547; (C) #434

Text: Exodus 12:1-14; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; Matthew 26:17-30

Theme: “Broken BREAD” (Matthew 26:26-28)

Question: “Do you like Bread?” 7th in Sermon series Broken BUT not Broke


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! The text for our Maundy Thursday is from the Gospel lesson: “Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’ And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you, for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins’” (Matthew 26:26-28).

Introduction: In Nomine IESU

Beloved in Christ, greetings to you in the name of Him who is the Bread of Life, Jesus our Lord and Savior! On this holy night we call Maundy Thursday (meaning a New Commandment) we gather along with Jesus and His band of disciples in the Upper Room. As we do so, we see the humble Rabbi first kneeling down, taking a basin and water and washing the feet of His followers. Then we behold them around the dining table in preparation for the Passover Meal. During this Meal that commemorated the deliverance of the Israelites from the bondage of slavery from Egypt, Jesus does something most amazing. He takes the bread, gives thanks and breaks it and announces to them, this is no ordinary bread, but His body BROKEN for their sins.

Did you know beloved in the Lord, that Gods’ Holy book has lots to say about breaking bread? In the O.T. God provides manna for His people in the wilderness. In the book of Deuteronomy, the Lord God states: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (8:3). Perhaps you remember that the devil tried to tempt Jesus to turn stones into bread while hungry in the wilderness. Jesus responded: “It is written!” We remember how Jesus fed thousands of people, starting with just five little loaves of barley bread and two fish (Lk.9). Jesus taught us to pray to the Father: “Give us today, our daily bread (Mt 6). And in John chapter 6, Jesus reveals Himself to be the bread of life” from heaven. The “bread” that Jesus speaks of is His flesh which He gave for the life of the world.

These and other passages demonstrate how the topic of bread keeps coming up in both the Old and New Testament. But bread is not only prevalent in the Scriptures. Bread is a staple food throughout the world. In my Palestinian culture, we would never sit down to eat without bread. As a matter of fact the first thing mother put on the table was bread. Bread is an important part of our daily diet. PAUSE.

But it appears in this country, that we’ve replaced putting bread on the table with putting meat and potatoes. It used to be, that bread was the centerpiece of the meal. That’s why we still use phrases like being the “breadwinner.” We still equate bread with nutrition, nourishment, and the basic necessities of life. And no matter how you slice it, bread is still a staple. Bread is sustenance. Bread IS a centerpiece of the global diet. Even though we have so many food choices here in this country, just look at how many forms of bread we have in our grocery stores. There’s a whole aisle dedicated to it.

Bread has been a dominant source of food for thousands of years. Jesus consumed bread every day. It was the centerpiece of His diet. He knew bread’s importance—in His time, survival depended upon having the resources for baking bread. Jesus even came from the “house of bread” (which is what Bethlehem means) and then He and His parents spent a few years as refugees in the “breadbasket” of Egypt.

On a daily basis, Jesus “broke bread” with His parents and siblings, and later with His disciples. “Breaking bread” is just another way of saying “eating, or dining together it is the most intimate of times between friends and family.” So we continue to “break bread” every time we eat … Whenever we share and enjoy the daily bread that God showers down on us, we’re experiencing a good thing, the God-given gift, of breaking bread with others just as we got done doing in the basement.

But breaking bread can also get us into trouble. In the Garden of Eden, the very first sin involved breaking bread. Satan appealed to Eve’s appetite, prompting her to disobey God’s simple command not to eat from the Tree at the center of the Garden. Adam and Even “broke bread” together anyway as they took and ate the fruit. That instance of breaking bread was earth-shattering; it was the first sin against our Creator, putting everything under a curse, and opening the floodgates for every sin to come. Breaking bread continues to get us into trouble. Far too many people fall into the sin of gluttony. You don’t need me to tell you that we live in the most overweight country in the history of the world. You can see this for yourselves every day. In recent decades, our nation has been so blessed with an abundance of daily bread that we go overboard. We take and eat, and we over-eat. PAUSE.

Breaking bread gets us into trouble, because our sinful hearts are never satisfied just like our parents in the Garden of Eden. We always want MORE. Because we’re cursed with Eve’s sin and Adam’s sin, our need for daily bread has a way of becoming an insatiable desire for what we crave. Little did they know that their desire for better bread to break, and more daily bread to consume, would unleash a chain reaction of sin. We see it in our lives and the lives of those we love. How do we overcome this terrible dilemma?

Christ, the heaven-sent Savior gives us the answer in our text this evening. Through the breaking of Bread, God gives us the only Way out of our cursed trouble. Not only does He give us daily bread to live on, but He is our spiritual bread. For you and for me who were headed toward eternal DEATH, God gives the Bread of LIFE: JESUS THE BREAD OF HEAVEN.

Our sermon hymn tells us that “Jesus Christ is our Living Bread. This is none-other than THE Bread of Life. This bread gives life not only for a day, or a year, but for a life-time. Jesus speaks about Himself, “HERE is the Bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I Am the living Bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this Bread, he will live forever. This Bread is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world … Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

The Good News we hear tonight is this: Jesus Himself is the Life-Giving Bread. Physical daily bread is a staple for sustenance and survival. And Jesus knows that we need bread to live, physically and spiritually. He provides our sustenance for this life, and He meets our desperate spiritual needs for eternal life. He provides us with both our “daily bread”, which is everything necessary to support our bodies, and eternal bread, which is His body, broken for us.

Bread must be BROKEN before it can be shared. This was the case when Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples. He first BROKE the unleavened bread, and then passed it along to His disciples. Jesus, God’s Living Bread, the Bread of Eternal Life, was also BROKEN for you before His Life could be shared with you. On Good Friday, Jesus’ body was BROKEN for the life of the world you too. Just as Jesus took bread on the night of the Passover meal, so too, He was Broken by whips and thorns and crucifixion. As Jesus was dying on that cross, even Jesus’ disciples wondered how He could be the Bread of Life. But it’s precisely because Jesus was broken and killed on His cross that He can feed and fill us, satisfy and sustain us, nourish and nurture us FOREVER.

In a few moments, I will repeat what the Savior did on that Holy night so long ago. I will take the Bread, lift it up, give thanks and break it for you. Likewise with the cup it will be shed for you. In a few moments, you will walk up to dine with Your Lord and Master Jesus. Here you will be the honored guest at a most beautiful table served by Him who is the Bread of Life. He will give YOU His body for added grace, strength, mercy, and assurance. Here you will receive the treasure of heaven in His Supper. Every time you receive in faith this Holy meal you receive the heavenly manna that assures you of eternal life. Every time you gather around the table, YOU will break bread with Your Lord and family of faith. Cherish these blessed times you get to dine with Your Savior. This will remind you that He has overcome your troubles; He has delivered you from the slavery of sin and death and has filled your life with joy, hope, and peace in your journey to the eternal City.

Come my children, come the table is ready for you. It is time to BREAK BREAD. Amen.

Now the peace…

Soli Deo Gloria

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