Lamb of God

Maundy Thursday, April 1, 2021
Pastor Deb Kielsmeier

Luke 22:1-27 NRSV

I was there.  It was the Passover festival.

And Jerusalem was packed.  Pilgrims from distant places, speaking different languages and wearing different kinds of clothes streamed into the city.

Every Jew wanted to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem if at all possible.  And so they came.  By the thousands!!

It was noisy with people and sheep and merchants hawking their goods.

My husband and I live right here in Jerusalem…

We – like others who live here – offer our extra room to pilgrims each year – so they can also eat the Passover meal within the walls of the city.

This year, the Rabbi Yeshua or Jesus – and his disciples had arranged to come to our home.

I was thrilled!  I had long wanted to meet this Rabbi and now, I would have that chance.

He was known all over the countryside for his wisdom and miracles.

Some even believed he was the long-awaited Messiah.

Then, last Sunday, on Lamb Selection Day… he rode into the city on the colt of a donkey.

Many were convinced that he would finally throw off the oppression of the Romans and reestablish the throne of David.

They laid their cloaks on the ground, chanting Ho Shanna!  Ho Shanna!  “SAVE US!”  “SAVE US!” And even waved palm branches ~ the symbol of the warrior zealots.

But Jesus wept ~ saying, if only you knew what would bring you peace.

And you can imagine that this had the Roman authorities on high alert.  With this many Jews in one place at one time…. And Jesus being hailed as the King of the Jews when he rode into town… They were afraid of an uprising or revolt!

It was just after sunrise on Thursday when Peter and John – both Galileans – arrived at our house.

Peter, the older of the two, was carrying a one-year-old lamb around his neck.

“We have come to prepare for the Passover,” Peter told me.

I hurried to greet them.

“Welcome!  Please, please come in, I will show you the upper room.”

I showed them where they would dine…

Like most homes in our day, we had cushions for diners to recline on instead of chairs.  The table – called a triclinium – was three-sided, horseshoe shaped and only a about six inches off the ground.

Resting on their left elbow, they ate with their right hand.

Their heads were close to the table but everyone’s their feet protruded out – Where they could easily be washed.

Peter and John thanked us and then soon headed back out the door with the lamb to make the climb to the temple.

Along with hundreds of other men, they presented their Passover lamb to the priest.

Each lamb was carefully inspected to be sure there were no defects.

Then, the eldest man of each household placed his hands on the head of their lamb and confessed the sin of his household. With a quick cut of a knife, the lamb’s throat was cut, and its blood was caught in a bowl and offered on the altar

The priest uttered the words “This blood is offered for the sin of their household.”

Hundreds of wooden tripods with hooks held the slaughtered animals, which were rendered and placed upon a spit.

It was a messy, ugly, smelly and bloody affair.

The men told us that the blood at Passover was well above their ankles in the temple.

Then, the lambs were rendered, and roasted on a spit over a fire.  It took the entire morning, but finally John and Peter returned to our home carrying the roasted Passover lamb on a spit between them.

Peter was whistling a Passover hymn.  Their sandals and the hems of their robes were covered in blood and ashes, and they both were sweaty and tired.  But their eyes were glistening and their hearts were merry.

When the sun was dipping low in the western sky the Rabbi Jesus and the rest of his disciples arrived.  I greeted the Rabbi and he took my hands into his and looked me right in the eyes.  What love and gratitude he exuded!  He blessed my husband and I for our hospitality.

As the evening progressed, I went upstairs to make sure our guests had all the wine, unleavened bread and bitter herbs that they needed.

They all seemed to be enjoying the feast – as it should be of course!  Passover is a time of great joy.  We remember and reinact the very first Passover in Egypt.

You remember the story don’t you?

We were slaves in Egypt, suffering under heavy labor and the whip.

Nine plagues had visited the country, but still Pharaoh would not let us go.

Finally, God told us to choose a perfect one year old lamb

And then, to kill it, putting the blood of the lamb on the doorposts and the lintel of our doors with hyssop.

We roasted it whole over the open fire and ate it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. We were to have our sandals on our feet, our walking staff in hand and robes tucked up into our belts…Ready to flee.

The next morning, we awoke to mourning and wailing throughout Egypt.

All those households without the blood on their doors had lost their first born to death.  But for us with the blood of the lamb, destruction had passed over us.

Pharaoh commanded us to leave, and God lead us with a mighty hand.  We were delivered, redeemed, set free.

Ever since that time, we have remembered the Passover with this meal.

Jesus knew the seder or the order of this ritual meal by heart.

But that night, he began to say the oddest things.

He took the unleavened bread, and blessed God saying,

Baruch atah adonai eloheinu malech ha’olam, hamotzi lechem min ha’aretz.

Blessed are you Our God – King of the Universe – who gives us bread from the earth.

At that point in the meal, you break it and divide it among those at the table to eat…

But then Jesus said something completely new

Take and eat – this is my body given for you.

Do this in remembrance of me.


After the supper was eaten.

Jesus lifted up the third up ~ the cup of Redemption ~

And said,

Baruch atah adonai eloheinu malech ha’olam, borei peri hagafen.

Blessed are you O God, king of the universe, creator of the fruit of the vine.

He said,

This is the cup of the NEW covenant in my blood

Shed for the forgiveness of sin.

As often as you drink of it, do this in remembrance of me.

A New Covenant in

Jesus’ BLOOD?

They never drank the fourth cup.  The cup of consummation or in-gathering.

Jesus said he would not drink that until they gathered again in paradise…

I have heard about that banquet, where the Lamb of God would preside – and believers from every nation, tongue and tribe will gather to praise our God.

Instead of that fourth cup, they sang a psalm and then Jesus and his disciples left in the moon-light night for the Mount of Olives.

I wondered What does all this mean.  Everything that Jesus said that night.

Until the next day around noon…

The sky turned dark, the earth quaked and the curtain in the temple tore in two.

Jesus was hung on a Roman cross, dying – blood pouring from his temple, his hands, his feet, his side.

Could Jesus be our true Passover Lamb.

Whose shed blood has caused death to pass-over.

So that we might be free…. So we might LIVE?

Could Jesus be the Lamb of God.

Who has shed his blood for the forgiveness of my sin, for yours?


Christ, Our Passover has been sacrificed for us,

Therefore – Let us keep this feast.


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