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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sermon 04052012 Maundy Thursday

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

Let us pray, Lord Jesus Christ, You went to the Garden for peace and solitude, but entered the greatest spiritual battle.  Your soul anguished over the choices offered, but in the end You prayed to the Father, “Your will be done”.  May we in our prayers understand Your sacrifice and as we pray the prayer You taught us, enable us to take up our Cross and follow You.  For You came and bore our iniquities in order to offer us eternal life for all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.

As one enters the Garden of Gethsemane outside of Old Holy City of Jerusalem, it is clear that this is indeed Holy Ground.  Not unlike when Moses turned to see the bush that was not consumed, the Garden of Gethsemane impels one to remove your shoes, because this is where Jesus Christ prayed prior to being betrayed by Judas.  Is this place Holy, because Jesus Christ walked there?  It probably is not for that reason.  But this was the place where Jesus Christ while in prayer with His Father in Heaven for this cup to be taken from Him, did spill blood.  St. Luke’s account of Jesus prayer in the Garden is very clear, “And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” This the innocent Blood of Jesus Christ, which we will partake of tonight, fell to the ground.  But the reason for this is clear from our text for this evening.

From Isaiah we hear how Jesus Christ our suffering servant suffers in the anguish of His soul.  Here Isaiah’s words:

11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus Christ soul was anguished.  The intensity that Jesus felt in the Garden over the decision that had to be made was not just tumultuous, but monumental.  For Jesus Christ Who had entered Jerusalem the prior Sunday as a ‘Rock Star’ and now in the Garden struggling was a radical change.  It was not just a shift of emotions, but the fullest burden of Jesus Christ task in front of Him was finally and firmly falling upon His shoulders and His Humanity was feeling the fullness of the burden of our sins, while His Divinity undivided and equal was rising to the task at hand of going to the cross for you and for me.

For Jesus Christ bore our iniquities and all of the sins of mankind.  Some scholars disagree when Jesus began to bear the iniquities of our sins.  Some claim it began when He was nailed to the Cross, others believe it began when Jesus Christ was beaten and scourged by the Roman Soldiers, but I am a firm believer that Jesus Christ bearing of our iniquities began at the stable in Bethlehem as a babe, continued as Jesus grew in stature and did not end until He was laid in the tomb as the sacrificial lamb that takes away the sins and iniquities of the world.  This was the entire length of His earthly life and Jesus Christ in bearing our iniquities wants us to understand He did this, not because He had to, but because He wanted to in order to give each of us eternal life.

On behalf of all of us Jesus Christ justifies each and every one of us through His life, His death and especially His resurrection.  We have been through our baptism grafted into this great plan of salvation and are fully justified from the sins that bind us.  We are set free by the Blood of Jesus Christ spilled in the Garden, spilled while He was scourged and spilled by the nails that pinned Him to the Cross and especially the spear that pierced His side.  This is the same blood that gives us eternal life that we partake of tonight in the meal He instituted.  In this meal we have a foretaste of the feast to come that we will share with Him in His Kingdom.
For this was the plan of salvation that Jesus anguished over in the garden and bore our iniquities in order to set us free from our sins. Though He rode into Jerusalem and became our guilt offering, He kept silent and bore our griefs and cares and was taken on this journey between rulers to the Cross of Calvary.  He was marred, despised, forsaken and afflicted was questioned, but endured scourging, bruising, piercing and having our iniquity and sin fall upon Him.  But in true servant fashion, Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world, but by bearing our iniquities saved us from our wickedness and through His death on the Cross of Calvary for the entire world, offers all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel eternal life.  AMEN.
//trial script