Looking For A Sign


Date: Maundy Thursday Text: John 13:1-15 www.kongsvingerchurch.org If you would like to be on Kongsvinger’s e-mailing list to receive information on how to attend all of our ONLINE discipleship and fellowship opportunities, please email [email protected]. Being on the e-mailing list will also give you access to fellowship time on Sunday mornings as well as Sunday morning Bible study.


Welcome to the teaching ministry of Kungsvinger Lutheran Church. Kungsvinger is a beacon for the gospel of Jesus Christ and is located on the plains of northwestern
Minnesota. We proclaim Christ and Him crucified for our sins and salvation by grace through faith alone.
And now, here's a message from Pastor Chris Roseberg. The Holy Gospel according to St. John, the 13th chapter.
Now, before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart out of this world to the
Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray
Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands and that He had come from God, was going back to God, rose from the supper.
And He laid aside His outer garments and taking a towel, tied it around His waist.
And then He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around Him.
He came to Simon Peter who said to him, Lord, do you wash my feet? Jesus answered him, what
I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand. Peter said to him, you shall never wash my feet.
Jesus answered him, if I do not wash you, you have no share with me. Simon Peter said to him,
Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. And Jesus said to him, the one who has bathed does not need to wash except for his feet, but is completely clean, and you are clean, but not every one of you.
For He knew who was to betray Him. That is why He said, not all of you are clean.
And when He had washed their feet and put on His outer garments and resumed His place, He said to them, do you understand what
I have done to you? You call me teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.
If then your Lord and your teacher have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet, for I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done to you.
This is the gospel of the Lord. In the name of Jesus. Oh, if only you would show me a sign,
God, then I would believe. Have you ever thought that way? I remember before I was a Christian, I remember thinking things like that.
God, how do I know that you're there? Give me a sign. Cause the moon to wink at me while I look at it tonight through the clouds.
Do something great. Do something spectacular. Give me some sign to know that you're there.
And you'll know that Christ basically says that it's a wicked and adulterous generation that seeks for signs.
But it's not as if signs do not exist. They do. I think back to one of the big challenges that Rome made to Martin Luther at the time of the
Reformation. And the challenge went something like this. What miraculous signs do you perform to justify this gospel that you are preaching?
It was a clever scheme on their part. Clever indeed, because Lutherans are not known for signs and wonders, by the way.
Have you noticed that about us? We're kind of a dull, boring group of people. And I'm surprised that none of you are sitting in the back pew.
I thought, wow, who is that reserved for tonight? You get the idea here. But that being the case, what was
Luther's response to said challenge? Luther's response was actually quite simple. His response went something like this.
The signs that I provide to you are the resurrection of Christ and the miracles performed by the apostles. They are the signs that validate this gospel because this is the gospel that they preached.
It's a good answer if you think about it. It's a fantastic answer. But you'll note that still in our day, people want to see signs.
And I would note that we have signs aplenty. But let's work through our
Old Testament text and then we'll consider how it informs what we're doing tonight.
It says in Exodus 12, Yahweh said to Moses and to Aaron in the land of Egypt, this month shall be for you the beginning of months.
It shall be the first month of the year for you. What month is this? Nisan. That is the
Hebrew month that we are in. So you're going to note something here. Have you ever noticed how our calendar seems to be off a little bit?
And I mean like off. The numbered ones don't make any sense. Is October?
Ach -to -ber. That's the 10th month, right? Doesn't that seem a little odd to you?
Ach -to -ber. Do you know what an ach -dagon is? And note I'm adding the phlegm for effect here.
How many sides does an ach -dagon have? Eight.
Okay, so you're going to note something here. Something's happened. Some screwy has happened in history to our calendars. Now, I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with it.
I mean that God hasn't actually instituted in the New Covenant a calendar for us to follow.
But you're going to note here, if you know your Hebrew calendar, what month in the year do the
Jews today celebrate Yom Kippur, the head, and then
Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah is the one in particular. Rosh Hashanah, the head of the year, the head of the new year.
What month is that in? September. It's in September. And by the way, note
September, October, Sept. 7. Something's weird going on here. And that is a lot of people have changed some things around, and I'm kind of looking forward in the restoration of all things to getting to a calendar that makes sense.
Just saying. But you'll note here then that anybody who says that the head of the new year for the
Jews is going to be in September, they're contradicting the scripture here. And the Jewish new year starts now.
That's the season. Nisan, the month that we're in. So he says, tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month, every man shall take a lamb according to their father's houses, a lamb for a household, and if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of the persons, according to what each can eat.
You shall make your count for the lamb. The lamb shall be without blemish, a male, a year old.
You can take it from the sheep or the goats, and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.
Now we just had the joy of having a Seder meal, a Christianized Seder meal, thank
God on that part, because there's certain bits of the newer Jewish liturgies we couldn't participate in, because those are innovations that have nothing to do with Christ.
But you'll note, going back to the more historic Seder liturgy, we then put all of this into context.
And one of the things we heard as we were preparing and having the Seder meal is that on the day that Jesus entered into Jerusalem on that Palm Sunday, what did they do?
They brought the Passover lamb, and they tied it up for everybody to see and to inspect and to make sure it was a spotless lamb without blemish.
Important to do. And you'll note that that runs parallel, we just heard, to Christ's time in Jerusalem, where he was interrogated, questioned, tried to be tricked by the chief priests, the scribes, the
Herodians and the Sadducees, all trying to trip him up, and yet they weren't able to trip him up at all, proving himself to be what?
The spotless lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. And you'll note, behold, Christ, our
Passover lamb, truly has been slain. And so we can see the parallel tracks here in the types and shadows, finding its fulfillment in Christ.
And I do think it's fascinating that God thought in terms of not merely individual salvations here, but salvations that include the saving of entire families.
What a gracious God we have, and that God cares for all of our children, no matter how small.
Do I need to quote Horton? Here's a who here. You get the idea. Even the smallest of infants in Israel was also saved during the exodus, so the entire family would have a lamb for them.
Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year old, we got that part. They're gonna then kill their
Passover lambs at twilight. What time is that?
Three in the afternoon. Coincidence? Hardly. You can see the connection,
Christ, our Passover lamb, truly was slain. And you'll note then that Jesus was crucified on the
Passover, and he died at exactly the same time that they would have been killing their
Passover lambs for their meals. Coincidence? Not at all. It's all on purpose. Then you shall take some of the blood and put it on the doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat.
They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat of it.
We heard how Christ, not only did he take unleavened bread, he also dipped it in bitter herbs, and it was during that Passover meal that he celebrated with his disciples that when he was dipping his bread into the bitter herbs that he revealed who his betrayer was, who happened to dip into the bitter herbs with him.
That little piece of context adds a whole lot of layers of meaning and understanding then to what it is that took place here.
Christ then says, do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roast it, its head with its legs and its inner parts.
The roasting of the Passover lamb then is an allusion to Christ's death on the cross, where he suffers the full fury of the wrath of God in our place, and he is roasted in God's wrath and dies for our sins.
That's the point. You'll note that this plague, the tenth plague, is the only one of the ten where everybody who wanted to not have their firstborn die needed to have a substitute.
And it's interesting, if the Egyptians had done this same thing, what would the destroyer had done to the
Egyptian houses? He would have passed over. Why? Well, because they would have believed
God's words and acted accordingly. And so you'll note then, our
Passover lamb, Jesus Christ, is our sacrifice. Not only that our firstborn do not die, that would mean that if, by the way,
I'm a firstborn, I would die. My son would die. How many of you would die if you're firstborn, right? All of that being said, it's not merely to save the firstborn.
It's to save all of us, to save every single one of us. So in this manner then you shall eat it, with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, your staff in your hand, and you shall eat it in haste.
It is Yahweh's Passover. Eating it in haste. I would note this here, this imagery of the exodus absolutely fits perfectly with what we do.
Do we not eat our Passover meal every Sunday in haste? Indeed we do. It's a quick pause, a quick, here's a little bit of Christ's body and blood, given and shed for the forgiveness of your sins, a morsel to help you on the way, if you would.
Because we are still in the middle of our exodus, having been set free from slavery to sin, death, and the devil, and having the
Satan's legions drowned in the baptismal waters of the Red Sea. Each and every one of us now is heading towards the real promised land, and we eat our meal in haste.
Christ says this then, I will pass to the land of Egypt that night. I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast, and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments.
You'll note then that it is absolutely perfect, good exegesis to walk back through all ten plagues of Egypt and figure out which of the
Egyptian gods was getting knocked on the head, or having his head lopped off, or him proven to be incompetent, and or worse, non -existent, incapable of standing up to Yahweh.
And by the way, this is unthinkable. There's, in the way the ancient world thought, deities had territories.
They had places in which they resided. Yahweh resided up in the
Canaanite area, right? And the Egyptian gods, they resided in Egypt, and then the other gods, they resided in different places and stuff like that.
But Yahweh, he executes judgments on the gods of Egypt on their own turf.
Now a few years ago, had I used this analogy, it would have actually worked. I don't think it works anymore, but this would be like the
Rams beating the Patriots in the Super Bowl in Patriots Stadium.
But now that they got rid of that guy, it doesn't really matter anymore, but this analogy just kind of falls apart.
But you get the idea. This is the unthinkable thing happening here. That's the point.
God is executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt and showing them to be impotent, incompetent, nonexistent.
He's the true God, King of kings and Lord of lords. And then he says these words, the blood shall be a sign for you.
The blood shall be a sign for you. And the you there is not us, it's them.
But is it? Think it through. That's the type in shadow.
The reality is in Christ. If only there was a sign, I would believe, hmm,
I know a sign. I open up my eyes, I saw the sign right there.
And you'll note, God has given us signs. He's given us tokens. He's given us miracles.
I would note here is that we Lutherans aren't exactly known for talking about the miraculous things that God is doing.
And the reason why is because we're not wingnut wackerdoodles, because we don't have to make up stories about the things that God is doing.
So I don't have to sit there and say, so there I was. I was just minding my own business. I was out in my backyard shoveling snow, and all of a sudden, the
Holy Spirit whisked me away to Saskatchewan. And I converted a whole family to Jesus, and then whoosh, he teleported me to Australia.
I had some Aussie beer with some friends, and then whoosh, brought me right over back here. I don't have to say stuff like that, right?
You know why? Because all those tall tales are just nonsensical lies.
But we do believe in miracles. We do not believe the supernatural has stopped. I would note that with every person brought to penitent faith in Christ, they have been raised from the dead, they have been regenerated.
This is a miracle performed by God the Holy Spirit through the preached word. Every single time we have a baptism here, it is not mere
Minnesota tap water doing work. It is not a mere sign or symbol.
Instead, we recognize what the scripture says, that when somebody is baptized, they are buried with Christ, they are raised with Christ, their sins are washed away, it is the washing of regeneration.
Baptism now saves you, Peter says. There have been miracles here that we've all seen with our own eyes.
And there's another miracle that takes place every time we have the Lord's Supper. And that is, is that ordinary bread and wine.
Christ adds his verba to mine, because you gotta note, I don't make it the
Lord's Supper, my words do not. It's his words, his mind, his will that makes it the
Lord's Supper. And he performs a great miracle in our midst. He adds to mere bread and wine his own body and blood given and shed for the forgiveness of our sins.
And the blood is a sign to us, but what is it a sign of? Of God's mercy, of God's grace, of Christ's intent to save us rather than to destroy us, and his absolute tenacity at comforting us and assuring us that our sins are forgiven, that we are bled for, that we are died for.
And so he gives us a sign Sunday after Sunday, tonight a Thursday. He gives us a sign every single time we gather, and that sign is nothing less than miraculous beyond all reason.
That we sinners, who deserve nothing more than God's wrath and eternal punishment, receive not from him his wrath, but because Christ has crucified.
He, like I said, was roasted in the wrath of God for us. We receive from God mercy, forgiveness, grace, and a sure and certain sign,
Sunday after Sunday after Sunday, that we are forgiven, that we are reconciled, that we have been set right with God by what
Christ has done for us. It is a sign of signs, if you would.
And you do not do well to despise it. You do not do well to water it down or diminish it.
You do well instead to recognize that these words, the blood shall be a sign for you, in a very real way points to all of us.
And so you'll note then, tonight we feast on the body and blood of Christ given in shed for the forgiveness of our sins.
And just like ancient Israel, they knew that when that blood was on their doors, as Yahweh promised, that when the destroyer passed through, he would see the blood and he would pass over them.
And no plague would befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. And so now as the world is getting desperately old and the creation itself is wearing out like a blanket, our old clothes that need patches, but beyond repair.
As the world is diving headlong into madness brought on by sin, we can see the gathering storm clouds of God's wrath on the day of judgment coming.
We don't know how far off they are. They're off in the distance still, but they'll be here soon enough. And you would be foolish to say
I have no fear of such things. All of us know that we deserve
God's wrath. But note this, the blood is a sign for you. That when
Jesus returns in glory to judge the living and the dead, he being the destroyer on that day, riding on his white horse with that sword coming out of his mouth and him striking down the nations with it.
That when he sees his own blood in your mouth, on your lips, in your stomach, in your body, he will pass over you and no plague will befall you.
You will not be destroyed on the day of Christ's judgment. Instead, you will be gathered with all the saints to meet him in the air.
And we will then be ushered in to the new heavens and the new earth. And we will live forever in a world without end, in a world without sin, with Jesus our visible king and God in our midst.
We will worship him face to face, having finally reached the real promised land, the one that we are heading for.
Do you really need a sign? You have them plenty. In the name of Jesus, amen.
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