Holy (Maundy) Thursday
Delivered By
Pr. Lovett
Delivered On
April 5, 2012
Central Passage
John 13:1-15


+ John 13:1-15 +
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.


The Son of Man came to serve, not to be served.  The Son of Man came out of His great love for His Father and for us sinners.
To love means to serve.
A mom loves her children and so serves them. She changes their diapers, feeds them breakfast, lunch, and dinner, often without thanks or a helping hand. Yet she does so willingly because she loves her children.  She may not always like them or have warm fuzzies about them, but she always loves them.  The evidence of her love is in her service to them.  Not only physical, bodily need service, but also emotional service when she hugs them and kisses their booboos when “mommy makes it all better”.
A father, too, loves his children by serving them.  He, too, must hug his children and read to them and spend time with them.  And he must protect them, inquiring of his daughter who she hangs out with and how they treat her. Reminding is sons that they are to treat women with respect and dignity.  He may not always think their brilliant, or want to hear about their hobbies and interests, but he does because he loves them.
Love is not an emotion.  It is a duty, a service.  True love isn’t romantic. That’s infatuation and emotion – good and even necessary things, but it’s not love.  True love is being duty bound to another.  So wedding vows say, “for richer or for poor, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, until death do us part.”  The vows aren’t based on emotion because love is not an emotion. The vows are based on duty to the other person because that’s what true love is: duty to another person. Love is the fulfillment of the Law, which is to love your neighbor as yourself.
And where there is no sin, love creates joy and contentment and pleasure.  A mother loves her children and so gives up her life for them, and there is joy and contentment and pleasure in it; evidenced by her warmed heart and spontaneous smile.  But when she thinks to herself of her never-realized goals of a career, or her once slim body that is ravaged by child-bearing, or that she has no “me” time and no money with which to enjoy “me” time, then the joy, contentment, and pleasure of loving her children becomes a burden.  But still she loves them, and so she takes up her cross and serves them.  She does her duty, that is love.
A husband and wife love one another and there is joy, contentment, and pleasure in each other.  But when the husband thinks only of himself, what a life he could be living if he weren’t shackled down to a wife, how he could spend his money and his time, even wondering what other women might be like in bed, then there is no joy, contentment, and pleasure.  And when the wife thinks of how she could have done this or that, gone here or there if she hadn’t given up so much for her husband, then there is no joy, contentment, and pleasure.  But where husband and wife do their duty for the sake of the other, then there can be found joy, contentment, and pleasure.
Love and sacrifice are two sides of the same coin.  To love is to sacrifice and to sacrifice is to love.  And where there is no sin, love and sacrifice do not hurt and cause no pain.  But where there is sin, love and sacrifice are known by the cross.
The Son of Man came to love the world.  He came to honor her, protect her, and save her.  But where there is sin there is only the cross.  The cross is the result of God’s love for us because where there is sin there is the cross because God is love.
Having loved His Father perfectly, Jesus laid down His life for His Father’s will.  He did not die to redeem or rescue the Father. He died because He loved the Father and so served Him who sent Him to redeem creation.  Yet He served Him where there is sin, and so His love became the cross.  The Son willingly gave Himself to the Father – that is sacrifice.  That is how He loved His Father.  Yet because of sin, our sin, Jesus’ sacrifice was given on the cross.  His love for the Father cost Him His life.
Jesus loves you, too.  He loves you by giving Himself to you. That is why He came born of woman, to give Himself to us as our brother.  That is His sacrifice, His giving.  And because we are sinners, His love became the cruciform.  His sacrifice – His giving of Himself – cost Him His life on the cursed tree.  He willingly laid down His life for you because that is what love demanded, that is how He loves you.
And still He loves you.  Still He gives Himself to you.  Only now, because He left sin and death in the tomb and was raised to life and reigns in righteousness, His sacrifice, His love for you is full of joy, contentment, and pleasure.  Now there is no sin between you and Him and so there is no death between you and Him.  There is no suffering between you and Him.  There is only life, joy, contentment, and pleasure.
But where there is still sin, there is still death.  So the commandment He gives to you to love one another as He has loved you will cost you your life.  Your sacrifice, your giving of yourself to your brothers and sisters will take the shape of the cross.  So you must pick up your cross and follow your Master in the way of love.  You do not atone for sin by this. You do not become more righteous.  But you do your duty.   You love your Lord and one another by this, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Your Lord prepares you to follow in the way.  He washes your feet with His body and blood that you may walk the way of God, the way of love; for Jesus is the Way and God is love.
In Nomine Iesu
+ Amen +