Maundy Thursday Noon Service
1 Corinthians 11:23 26 (read at beginning of service)
Matthew 26: 17-25 (read right before message)
Matthew 26: 26-29 (read after message, later in service)
This is the man we mean. When we say Jesus, we mean a man born of a woman, raised as a baby through childhood and adolescence into manhood, a man who knew the stories of his religion and culture, a man who ate, drank, breathed, bathed, and hurt every time he slammed a thumb with a hammer.
This is the man we mean. When we say Jesus, we mean the man who sought company, friends, and good times over food. We mean the man who enjoyed weddings, who laughed and smiled, was angry and cried.
This is the man we mean. When we say Jesus, we mean the man who sought to do what God wanted, to a degree that many of us wish we could, but often don't. This is a man whom we admire. We mean the man who saw one of his friends drifting away, and was saddened by it. This is a man who knew that something large would be expected of him, and perhaps thought as Judas left the meal, "so that is how it begins."
This is the man we mean. When we say Jesus, we mean a man who was baptized by others, who grew in faith as we all can. It's just that he did.
It is a man like this, like us, flesh and blood and bone, that saved us. This is the man we mean. When we say Christ, we mean the man who came down to us from God, who was with God and who was God at the beginning of the universe. When we say Christ, we mean the one who came to be a man through emptying himself of his divinity for the love of us.
He emptied himself of his God-self so that we would know God. And as his ultimate expression of love for us, he submitted to trial, beatings, misunderstanding and ultimately execution. This Man, this Jesus, of flesh and blood, son of Mary and adopted son of Joseph, cousin to John. He was also the Christ. Were he not so, truly we would not be telling the story on this cold sunny day in April in Pennsylvania, an area he and his time did not even conceive of.
This is the man we mean. Jesus, the Christ. It is his meal that we remember when we have communion, and it is his life we remember as we eat and drink now. We submit again to the new covenant in His name, the covenant of
. . . (putting)(His) law within (us), and (He) will write it on (our) hearts; and (he) will be (our) God, and (we) shall be (his) people. No longer shall (we) teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for (we) shall all know(him), from the least of (us) to the greatest, says the Lord; for (he) will forgive (our) iniquity, and remember (our) sin no more. Jeremiah 31: 31-34, NRSV, pronouns changed.
This is the man we mean. This is the Christ we mean. To understand God's love because it was demonstrated by another of our kind, flesh and blood and bone.
This is the man we mean, when we say Jesus.