Sermon for Maundy Thursday 03.28.24

Sermon for Maundy (Holy) Thursday 2024
Text: Psalm 41:9
Old Testament: Exodus 12:1–14
Psalm 41 (in its entirety)
Epistle: 1 Corinthians 11:23–32
Gospel: John 13:1–30

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) Psalm 41:9 serves as our sermon text for this evening.
(C) Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus
Christ! Amen.
(D) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
Lord Jesus, who came to Your own and they received You not, grant us Your
Spirit to glorify You in our hearts.

Enlighten our souls with this living knowledge that You are the power of
God and the wisdom of God, that we may never be offended in You, but may
hold Your righteousness in an unwavering faith, and may not be ashamed to
confess you before men.

(A) David prayed in Psalm 41, “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who
ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.”
(B) During the midweek services for Lent, two things have been emphasized:
(1) that the Psalms speak about Jesus (John 5:39) and
(2) that because the Psalms speak about Jesus, they therefore speak also
about you.
(A) In Baptism, you were “joined to the Lord” (1 Corinthians 6:17) and
(B) are now “become one” as the Scriptures say (Ephesians 5:31–32).
(C) We can therefore think of Psalm 41, in part, as a biographical sketch
about you.
(1) Psalm 41 tells both your story and mine as surely as it tells the
history of our Lord.
(2) But Psalm 41 was written by King David, which means the psalm also
gives us a sketch of David.
(I) “Even my close friend,” said David, “in whom I trusted, who ate my
bread, has lifted his heel against me.”
(A) David might have been talking about Absalom (cf. Psalm 3:1), his most
handsome and charming son.
(1) Absalom grew up on King David’s knee.
(2) Absalom ate his father’s bread at his father’s table.
(3) He enjoyed his father’s generous and reconciling love and received
every comfort of his father’s house.
(4) Absalom also harbored a temper and held a grudge that led him to
conspire against his own father and murder his own brother.
(5) Absalom tried to overthrow his father and occupy the throne of Israel
for himself.
(6) In the figure of speech expressed by Psalm 41, Absalom “lifted his heel
against” David.
(7) David was knocked down hard by the blow.
(B) Think of the various muscles in the human body.
(1) Hardly any physical blow can exert more impact than a raised heel.
(2) A closed fist can certainly do damage, especially when thrown by a
strong man with an experienced arm and calloused knuckles.
(3) A swung elbow can drop an opponent larger than you, but only if it hits
the right target.
(4) By comparison, it is very difficult for anyone to receive the uncoiled
blow of a raised heel and still remain on his feet.
(5) Even a petite woman’s raised heel can “kick like a mule,” as the saying
(6) The heel explodes out like a cannonball, involving nearly every muscle
in the leg.
(C) Absalom “lifted his heel” against David.
(1) Absalom laid low the one who had lifted him up and had given him every
good thing.
(II) Judas Iscariot did the same thing to Christ Jesus, our Lord.
(A) As it is written in Matthew 26:
Matthew 26:14–16 (NASB95)
14 Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests
15 and said, “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” And
they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him.
16 From then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus.
(B) Judas did that terrible thing because he held malice toward Jesus:
(1) inexplicable malice toward Jesus, who had given Judas every good thing.
(2) When traveling together with the disciples, Jesus entrusted to Judas
all the finances of the entire group (John 13:29).
(3) When Jesus sent out His disciples and gave them His own divine power to:
Matthew 10:8 (NASB95)
“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely
you received, freely give.”
(a) the gracious, ordaining hand of our Lord was gently laid also upon
Judas’ head.
(4) On the night Jesus was betrayed, as you heard in tonight’s Gospel,
Jesus knelt even before Judas and humbly washed his feet along with the
rest of the disciples.
(5) Jesus likewise served Judas the Holy Communion of Christ’s body and
blood, given and shed even for the sins of Judas (Matthew 26:20–28).
(6) Our Lord knew beforehand:
(a) He knew from the Scriptures of the Old Testament (Zechariah 11:13;
Psalm 69:25; 109:8; cf. Acts 1:20)
(b) who would betray Him.
(7) Jesus faithfully loved His betrayer, nonetheless.
(C) Judas fulfilled in the life of Christ what King David had earlier
experienced and written in Psalm 41:
Psalm 41:9 (NASB95)
Even my close friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his
heel against me.
(1) David likewise wrote in another psalm concerning Jesus:
Psalm 35:14 (NASB95)
I went about as though it were my friend or brother; I bowed down mourning
(literally dressed in black) as one who sorrows for a mother.
(2) Yet again, David said in another psalm—again speaking words concerning
our Christ—
Psalm 55:12–14, 20 (NASB95)
12 For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, Then I could bear it; Nor is
it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, Then I could hide
myself from him.
13 But it is you, a man my equal, My companion and my familiar friend;
14 We who had sweet fellowship together Walked in the house of God in the
20 He has put forth his hands against those who were at peace with him; He
has violated his covenant.
(III) “Even my close friend in whom I trusted”:

(A) Those words are indeed about David, who suffered the betrayal of his
beloved son Absalom:
“He who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me”.
(B) Those words are likewise about Jesus, the true and messianic Son of
David, whom God had promised.
(C) Because those words are about Jesus, they are also about you; you are
the baptized of Christ and “one body” (Romans 12:4–5) with Him.
(D) Among the many emotions that betrayal can evoke, perhaps the strangest
is that of loneliness.
(1) Betrayal can make you feel abandoned and alone.
(2) Betrayal can focus your thoughts upon only that one, lost friend,
rather than all of the other friends who have remained faithful to you.
(3) David wrote Psalm 41 about himself, and he wrote it about our Christ,
in part, so that we would be able to draw comfort from the ancient fact
that we are not alone.
(4) We are in good company when we are betrayed by those whom we have made
our equal, our companion, our familiar friend (Psalm 55:12–13).
(E) “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted
his heel against me.”
(1) Many people can read those lonely words as that biographical sketch I
mentioned earlier.
(2) Life in this dreary world assures us that we shall each eventually get
to a point where we can see ourselves in this story.
(3) I know how my betrayers have made me desolate.
(4) Who has betrayed you?
(F) Think of the muscles in the human body.
(1) Our betrayers have the power to kick like a mule, bowl us over, and lay
us low.
(2) Both our Lord Jesus and our forefather David can help us with that
(a) Absalom dealt his father, David, a harsh blow that laid him low, but
David survived; he rose to his feet by the power of God, and he sat down
again on the throne that had been given and promised to him by his Maker
and Redeemer.
(b) Judas Iscariot likewise dealt our Lord Jesus a mighty blow, laying Him
low in the depths of the grave.
(c) Jesus rose again from the dead.
(d) God:
Hebrews 2:9 (NASB95)
But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels,
namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned [Him] with glory
and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
(e) Jesus loved NOT His life, even unto death (cf. Revelation 12:11), but
loved those He came to save.
(f) Thus, Jesus could say to His Father in heaven, in the words of His
father David and in the closing words of Psalm 41,
Psalm 41:11–13 (NASB95)
11 By this I know that You are pleased with me, Because my enemy does not
shout in triumph over me.
12 As for me, You uphold me in my integrity, And You set me in Your
presence forever.
13 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, From everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.
(G) Those words are also your words.
(1) David said those words.
(2) Jesus said those words.
(3) You have been given God’s Spirit that you might likewise say those
Psalm 41:11 (NASB95)
By this I know that You are pleased with me, Because my enemy does not
shout in triumph over me.

(A) There is no need to pretend here.
(1) Those who have betrayed us have indeed hurt us, having raised their
heel against us.
(2) The pain and the shame and the loneliness can be undeniably great, but
those things shall remain only for a little while.
(3) The Lord your God shall vindicate you and raise you up and set you
above your “enemies all around” (Psalm 27:6), even those who have betrayed
you and raised their heel against you.
(4) The resurrection of our Lord shall inevitably make it so.
(5) To this, we can say with David, in the final words of Psalm 41, “Amen
and Amen” (verse 13).
(B) By the power of the Holy Spirit and with confidence in the resurrection
of our God, we add our “Amen” with certainty and without fear.
(1) We say it once because we mean it.
(2) We say it twice to intensify and emphasize our hope.
(3) This is in keeping with what we learned to say from the Small
(A) “Amen, Amen means ‘yes, yes, it shall be so’” (Conclusion to the Lord’s
(4) Amen.
(C) Let us pray:
Dear Father, thank You for Your infinite love and goodness toward us, Your
dear children.
Even when we are disciplined, we know You love us.
Keep us in Your Word, in faith and in prayer. Amen.
(D) The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
(E) In the Name of the Father…Amen.