April 9, 2020
M: We worship this evening in the Name of our Triune God: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Confession of Sins
M: We have come into the presence of God, who created us to love and serve Him as His dear children. But we have disobeyed Him and deserve only His wrath and punishment. Therefore, let us confess our sins to Him and plead for His mercy.
C: Merciful Father in heaven, I am altogether sinful from birth. In countless ways I have sinned against you and do not deserve to be called your child. But trusting in Jesus, my Savior, I pray: Have mercy on me according to your unfailing love. Cleanse me from my sin, and take away my guilt.
M: God, our heavenly Father has forgiven all your sins. By the perfect life and innocent death of our Lord Jesus Christ, He has removed your guilt forever. You are His own dear child. May God give you strength to live according to His will.
Prayer and Praise
M: In the peace of forgiveness, let us praise the Lord.
OH, TASTE AND SEE or another song of praise is sung.
OH, TASTE AND SEE
C: Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed are they who take refuge in Him. Your Word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues forever. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed are they who take refuge in Him.
PRAYER OF THE DAY
M: Let us pray.
The minister says the Prayer of the Day.
Lord God, we thank you for this day of grace now drawing to a close. Stay with us and warm our hearts with your forgiving love in Christ. May your Word keep our faith burning brightly that we may walk in the light of your presence through the darkness of this world. Come and bless us as we worship you: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
FIRST LESSON – Exodus 12:1-14
God gave His people instructions for the observance of the Passover. The Passover Lamb, which was without defect and granted deliverance from death, prefigures Christ the Lamb of God, who was also perfect, and whose blood delivers us from eternal death.
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire—head, legs and inner parts. Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover. On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD—a lasting ordinance.” (NIV1984)
PSALM OF THE DAY – Psalm 116
I love the LORD, for He heard my voice
He heard my cry for mercy.
Because He turned His ear to me,
I will call on Him as long as I live.
The LORD is gracious and righteous;
when I was in great need, He saved me.
For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
How can I repay the LORD
for all His goodness to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the LORD.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen
SECOND LESSON – 1Corinthians 11:23-28eba
Paul reinstructs the Corinthians in the institution and meaning of the blessed Sacrament. Christ gives His true body and blood to His people in the Sacrament.
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. (NIV1984)
VERSE OF THE DAY
As often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. (1 Corinthians 11:26)
GOSPEL LESSON – John 13:1-15, 34
As Jesus washes His disciples’ feet, He gently instructs them in the meaning of the Sacrament and issues His “new command” to love as He has loved.
It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (NIV1984)
After the Gospel, the congregation says:
C: Praise be to you, O Christ!
The Son of God Goes Forth to War— The Battle is Personal!
Sermon Text: Luke 22:47, 48
While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Are you familiar with the Trojan horse? The Trojan horse was a huge hollow wooden horse that was constructed by the Greeks to gain entrance into the City of Troy during the Trojan War. The Trojan horse was set outside the walls of Troy as a “gift.” The Greek army then got into their ships and sailed away— giving the impression that they were giving up on the war. When the Trojans saw that the Greek army had left, they pulled the wooden horse into the city. What they didn’t realize is that: a) there were Greek soldiers hiding inside that wooden horse, and b) the Greek army had not gone very far. That night the Greek soldiers emerged from the horse and opened the city gates to let the Greek army flood into the city. That’s how the City of Troy fell into the hands of the Greeks.
Are you familiar with the term “a Trojan horse”? A Trojan horse is a type of malicious computer software that is hidden inside what looks like a benign beneficial computer program or file. When a person downloads that program or opens that file the Trojan horse virus gains access to that person’s computer— stealing data from the hard drive, logging key strokes to acquire passwords or account numbers, sending spam from the user’s e-mail account or even deleting everything on the entire hard drive.
Our text for tonight takes us back to a time when Satan had used one of Jesus’ hand-picked apostles to serve as a “Trojan horse.” That apostle was, of course, Judas. Our text for tonight is recorded in Luke 22:47, 48. Luke writes, “While he (Jesus) was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, ‘Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?’” As we continue our sermon series entitled The Son of God Goes Forth to War let’s see how this portion of Scripture reveals to us that for Jesus— The Battle is Now Personal!
We can lock our doors to try to keep out thieves and robbers, we can carry mace to try to ward off attackers, we can make sure that we are always aware of our surroundings, but more often than not, the greatest threat that we face is a Trojan horse like Judas. Judas was “one of the twelve.” Judas was hand-picked by Jesus Himself to be one of our Lord’s apostles. Judas had listened to Jesus teach the Word of God with a clarity and an authority that was unmatched by anyone else! Judas had watched as Jesus performed miracle after miracle after miracle— from healing people who had in incurable disease to raising the dead back to life. Judas had been sent out by Jesus with the “authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness” along with the privilege to proclaim “The Kingdom of heaven is near.” (See Matthew 10) Judas had even been entrusted with being the Treasurer for Jesus’ disciples. But, Satan had infected Judas’ heart with the Trojan horse of greed. In John 12 Judas is described as a “thief…as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it” (John 12:6).
That Trojan horse of greed is what led Judas to leave the Upper Room— that Upper Room where Jesus had just washed Judas’ feet, that Upper Room where he had just celebrated the Passover with Jesus and the other apostles— that Trojan horse of greed led Judas to leave the Upper Room, go to the chief priests and ask, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you” (Matthew 26:15). That Trojan horse of greed is what led Judas to try and disguise his act of ultimate betrayal by using the traditional greeting between close friends— a kiss on the cheek.
How did Jesus respond to this ultimate act of betrayal? Scripture reveals that Jesus had two responses. The first response if found here in our text when Jesus asks the rhetorical question, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” Jesus knew exactly what Judas was doing— and why he was doing it. With this question Jesus was giving Judas an opportunity to repent of the sin that was in his heart by changing what he was about to do. Unfortunately, the Trojan horse that Satan had implanted in the heart of Judas had taken over. Judas wanted those thirty pieces of silver more than he wanted Jesus’ forgiveness.
Jesus’ second response to this ultimate act of betrayal is found in Matthew 26:50. Jesus says to Judas, “Friend, do what you came for.” Notice how Jesus referred to Judas as His “friend.” That reveals to us just how personal this battle was for Jesus. At the very same time, however, we know that just moments prior to this Jesus had earnestly prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Even though Jesus knew full well that Judas’ betrayal would result in Jesus being nailed to a cross on Calvary’s hill (Pointing to the cross), Jesus obediently followed His Father’s Plan of Salvation for this world. Yes, Jesus was willing to die in order to atone for the sins of the whole world— including Judas’ sins of greed and betrayal.
Now we could sit here, shake our heads tonight and roll our eyes at Judas and wonder how someone who had spent so much time with Jesus, how someone who had heard Jesus teach and preach the Word of God, how someone who had seen Jesus perform miracles— how could someone who had enjoyed so many blessings turn around and betray Jesus for thirty pieces silver? We could sit here tonight and at least in our own mind say, “I could/would never do something like that!” That kind of reaction, however, would reveal that Satan had infected our heart with a Trojan horse virus— the virus of pride, the virus of self-confidence. Yes, my friends, Satan is constantly trying to infect our heart with as many Trojan horse viruses as he can so that when the time is right that virus can release an all out attack on our faith— with the goal of getting us to betray Jesus!
Think about it. When the stock market just recently fell off of a cliff, did we panic? Did we bemoan how much money we lost in our investment accounts? When the stock market just recently fell off of a cliff did we see that as an unexpected opportunity to buy stocks at a bargain basement price? Most of us here tonight are able to attest to the fact that the moral standards of our society have slipped dramatically. The things that we can see with just a click of our mouse, the things that we can watch by simply pressing a button on our television remote control are enough to cause our parents and our grandparents to gasp. Do we find ourselves secretly being drawn to such things like a moth to a flame? In his letter to the Galatians Paul highlights some of the Trojan horses that Satan uses to infect the hearts of sinners. Paul writes, “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like” (Galatians 5:19-21). Jesus Himself lists some of the Trojan horses that can be found in the human heart. In Matthew 15 Jesus warns us, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matthew 15:19). We need to realize that Satan has become even more adept at leaving a Trojan horse outside the gate of our heart anticipating that some day we will indeed open the gate and bring that Trojan horse in. That’s when our battle becomes even more personal!
Thankfully, our Savior is still our Warrior, a Warrior who has already won His personal battle with Satan, a Warrior who assures us that His victory is our victory through faith in what He has done for us! (Pointing to the cross) As the Warrior who has already secured the victory for us, the Son of God also gives to us the visible tangible proof that all of our sins are completely forgiven. Under normal circumstances tonight is the night that we would both commemorate and celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion. While we are not able to receive the Lord’s Supper tonight we are always able to receive the Lord’s assurance of forgiveness, aren’t we! Through the power of His holy Word Jesus personally assures us of His forgiveness over and over again. Through the power of His Holy Spirit Jesus gives us the strength to defeat the Trojan horses with which Satan tries to infect us and lead us to betray our Savior.
My prayer this evening, my friends, is that we will indeed remember that for the Son of God, for our victorious Warrior, the battle is still extremely personal. We are Jesus’ friends— friends that He loves this much (Pointing to the cross), friends that He wants to have live with Him forever in His heavenly home! With our victorious Warrior always fighting for us we, with our victorious Warrior always forgiving us will always have reason to say:
To God be the glory!
I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
OFFERING During this time of uncertainty we still want to give our offerings of firstfruits to our Savior. Please keep setting aside your offering to the Lord until we are able to meet in His house once again.
PRAYER OF THE CHURCH
M: In the closing hours of this day, hear us as we pray, O Lord:
C: Lord, have mercy.
M: For the well-being of people everywhere, for the growth of your Church in all the world, and for the strengthening of all who serve and worship here, we pray, O Lord:
C: Christ, have mercy.
M: For one another, young and old, for your blessings that come with every stage of life, and for joy in doing your will, we pray, O Lord:
C: Lord, have mercy.
M: For our public servants who work day and night to bring protection, justice, learning, and health to this and every place, we pray to you, O Lord:
C: Lord, hear our prayer.
M: For favorable weather and bountiful harvests, for clothing and food, for health of body, mind, and spirit, and for deliverance from all sin and every form of evil, we pray to you, O Lord:
C: Lord, hear our prayer.
M: For the faithful who have gone before us, who have shared with us your good news, whose souls are now at rest in your heavenly kingdom, we give you thanks, O Lord:
C: Thanks be to God.
M: In thanksgiving for your many and varied gifts to us, we now commend ourselves to your care. Be our shield and strength, O Lord.
C: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Luther’s Evening Prayer (all):
In the name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
My Heavenly Father, I thank You through Jesus Christ, Your Dear Son, for graciously keeping me through this day. Forgive me all the sins that I have done against You, and graciously keep me through this night. I commend my body and soul and all things into Your hands. Let Your holy angel be with me, so that the devil may have no power over me. Amen.
M: Brothers and sisters, go in peace. Live in harmony with one another. Serve the Lord with gladness.
The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord look on you with favor and give you peace.