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Maundy Thursday Devotion about Forgiveness in Holy Communion

Jesus knows our sin. But He loves us anyway—so much so that He died on the cross to earn our salvation. We read about this wondrous love of His in our devotion, which comes from Places of the Passion: Resources for Lent–Easter Preaching and Worship.

Scripture Readings

Jeremiah 31:31–34
Psalm 116:12–19
Hebrews 10:15–25
Luke 22:7–20

Read the propers for today in Lutheran Service Builder.

Devotional Reading

In Luke’s account of the Last Supper, he is very clear to let us know that Jesus knew about Judas. How did the disciples react to this knowledge? They had an argument. So Luke shows us disciples no longer looking to Jesus but looking among themselves. And that’s what happens. In the shadow of wrongdoing, we become engrossed in seeking out the certainty of sin.

But not Jesus. That is what is so amazing about this Last Supper. Jesus knows about this evil. He begins the meal by talking about His suffering, and He closes the meal by talking about His betrayal. Yet in the face of certain evil, Jesus does not try to keep Judas away from His disciples. He doesn’t turn His disciples against Judas, and He doesn’t run to another city in fear. In the face of certain evil, Jesus does the certain work of God. Yes, one will betray Him and another will deny Him and all will fall away. But in the midst of all that is wrong and weak and evil about human flesh, there remains one other thing that is true: God is alive. His love is certain. And this night, the kingdom of God is coming into the world. In the face of certain evil, Jesus offers certain forgiveness. “This is My body, which is given for you. . . . This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood” (vv. 19–20).

While the Jewish people used this night to remember the Passover, Jesus calls His disciples to remember Him. He is their freedom. In Him is the new covenant. In Him is eternal love. In Him, sin, death, and the power of the devil are destroyed. In His body, He will bear the punishment of our sins on the cross. With His blood, He will claim us as His own so that the angel of death sheathes his sword. In this body and blood are eternal forgiveness, and as often as we eat this body and drink this cup we proclaim the benefits of the Lord’s death for all people until He comes.

Here, in the Lord’s Supper, we see the gracious work of God among us tonight. Yes, we come tonight with scars, with parts of our lives that we’d rather not remember. There are things we have done that make us say, “Pastor, if you only knew.” But for all of us, God knows. He sees and knows, and tonight we confess to Him the certainty of our sin. But tonight, God comes and proclaims the certainty of your salvation. In the death of His Son, He has forgiven your sin. In His body and blood, He comes tonight to assure you of the certainty of His love. Here, you are no longer known as a sinner; you are known and acknowledged as a child of God. Tonight, God prepares a place for you at His table. A place of forgiveness.

Devotional reading is adapted from Places of the Passion: Resources for Lent–Easter Preaching and Worship, Holy Thursday sermon © 2015 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved.

Hymn

The hymn “O Lord, We Praise Thee” is from Twenty-Seven Hymn Harmonizations for Reformation © 2016 Concordia Publishing House.

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