Sermon for Maundy Thursday 04.06.23 “Prepared food: Hezekiah”

Maundy Thursday 2023
Text: 2 Chronicles 30:1–5, 10–13, 22b–27
Theme: Prepared food: Hezekiah
Hymns: LSB 445, 617

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.
B. Portions of 2 Chronicles 30 serve as our sermon text for this evening,
which reads as follows:
2 Chronicles 30:1–5, 10-13, 22b-27 (NASB95)
1Now Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah and wrote letters also to
Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at
Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover to the LORD God of Israel.
2For the king and his princes and all the assembly in Jerusalem had decided
to celebrate the Passover in the second month,
3since they could not celebrate it at that time, because the priests had
not consecrated themselves in sufficient numbers, nor had the people been
gathered to Jerusalem.
4Thus the thing was right in the sight of the king and all the assembly.
5So they established a decree to circulate a proclamation throughout all
Israel from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to celebrate the
Passover to the LORD God of Israel at Jerusalem. For they had not
celebrated it in great numbers as it was prescribed…
10So the couriers passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim
and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun, but they laughed them to scorn and
mocked them.
11Nevertheless some men of Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves
and came to Jerusalem.
12The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the
king and the princes commanded by the word of the LORD.
13Now many people were gathered at Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of
Unleavened Bread in the second month, a very large assembly…
22Then Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites who showed good
insight in the things of the LORD. So they ate for the appointed seven
days, sacrificing peace offerings and giving thanks to the LORD God of
their fathers.
23Then the whole assembly decided to celebrate the feast another seven
days, so they celebrated the seven days with joy.
24For Hezekiah king of Judah had contributed to the assembly 1,000 bulls
and 7,000 sheep, and the princes had contributed to the assembly 1,000
bulls and 10,000 sheep; and a large number of priests consecrated
25All the assembly of Judah rejoiced, with the priests and the Levites and
all the assembly that came from Israel, both the sojourners who came from
the land of Israel and those living in Judah.
26So there was great joy in Jerusalem, because there was nothing like this
in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel.
27Then the Levitical priests arose and blessed the people; and their voice
was heard and their prayer came to His holy dwelling place, to heaven.
This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
C. Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
D. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
LSB 445:1 When You Woke That Thursday Morning
When You woke that Thursday morning,
Savior, teacher, faithful friend,
Thoughts of self and safety scorning,
Knowing how the day would end;
Lamb of God, foretold for ages,
Now at last the hour had come
When but One could pay sin’s wages:
You assumed their dreadful sum. Amen.


A. Tonight we begin the three-day journey which traces our Lord’s exodus as
he led his people from death to life through the depths of the earth.
1. The memorial each year of the Israelite exodus from Egypt was celebrated
by God’s people in the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
1. Hezekiah sought to celebrate the Passover after years of neglect.
A. Unfortunately, the Judeans did not always remember the mighty acts of
God as they had been instructed.
B. King Hezekiah took the throne after his father Ahaz.
C. For sixteen years, Ahaz reigned and led the people in all sorts of
abominations, acts which were hallmarks of the pagan people whom the Lord
had driven out in the days of Joshua.
D. Ahaz suffered military defeat and humiliation from all sides.
E. Yet the Scripture says:
2 Chronicles 28:22 (NASB95)
22Now in the time of his distress this same King Ahaz became yet more
unfaithful to the LORD.
F. Even with disaster crashing around him, this could not bring Ahaz back
to God and, in fact, he plundered the house of the Lord and shut up its
G. So Hezekiah began his reign and:
2 Chronicles 29:2 (NASB95)
2He did right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father
David had done.
H. Right at the beginning of his reign, Hezekiah began to cleanse the
temple and restore the service of the house of the Lord.
I. Immediately, King Hezekiah sought to celebrate the Passover.
2. Political and religious issues prevented and postponed the gathering.
A. The invitation was sent to all Israel and Judah to come to Jerusalem and
celebrate the Passover.
1. However, there were political and religious difficulties that would
delay the celebration and prevent the full gathering of the twelve tribes.
B. Although Hezekiah invited all Israel, the northern ten tribes had been a
separate kingdom for centuries.
1. They had been at war for most of that time, even during the previous
administration of Ahaz.
2. Moreover, they rejected Jerusalem as the central place for the worship
of the Lord.
3. They had set up high places and altars for themselves so they didn’t
need to travel to Judah and Jerusalem.
4. Hezekiah’s messengers were therefore rejected by most of the people in
2 Chronicles 30:10 (NASB95)
10So the couriers passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim
and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun, but they laughed them to scorn and
mocked them.
5. Some men from the north humbled themselves and came, but this would not
be the reunion of Israel that Hezekiah desired.
C. Moreover, this Passover was going to be uniquely delayed.
1. Hezekiah and the princes took counsel to keep the feast one month late
because not enough priests were consecrated!
2. Even though it is written in Numbers, chapter 9, that an individual who
is ritually unclean or on a trip can celebrate the Passover in the second
month, this had never applied to the whole people before.
3. And so, it would be like celebrating Christmas in January or the Fourth
of July in August.
D. Remember, Ahaz had closed the temple, so the Judeans hadn’t been
celebrating the Passover every year as they were commanded by the Lord.
1. But Hezekiah was eager to hold this feast, so all the preparations were
hastily made.
2. Even so, many people, especially the northerners who came, were ritually
3. Yet God gave the people one heart to celebrate the feast.
A. Yet God was evidently pleased by this worship and passed over the
irregularity of the ceremonies, giving his grace freely.
2 Chronicles 30:12 (NASB95)
12The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the
king and the princes commanded by the word of the LORD.
B. Even those who came unclean were pardoned by God and healed.
C. This was a Passover unique in the history of Judah.
1. The assembly rejoiced greatly as in the days of Solomon, and the prayers
of the Levites were heard not only in the temple but in the Lord’s
habitation in heaven.
2. The mighty acts of God’s salvation once again were put in as the central
focus as the Judeans, their Israelite brothers, and the sojourners in the
land worshiped the one God of heaven and earth who had brought them out of
the land of Egypt.
4. The Son of Hezekiah gathers his people around his body and blood.
A. King Hezekiah certainly led the nation to a great revival of faith at
this time.
1. However, despite his efforts to follow David, his father, Hezekiah’s
reforms were short-lived.
2. When Hezekiah’s son Manasseh took the throne, he led Judah into
degradation and the destruction of Judah, Jerusalem, and the temple.
3. This is the natural cycle of the rulers of earth.
B. The greater Son of Hezekiah will have to do more.
1. Instead of thousands of bulls and sheep, the Son of Man offers his blood
as a ransom for many.
2. His flesh is offered up as the Passover Lamb.
3. He is the consecrated priest, wholly by means of himself.
4. In fact, Jesus was defiled by the priests’ standard because he entered
Pilate’s headquarters
John 18:28 (NASB95)
28Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas into the Praetorium, and it was early;
and they themselves did not enter into the Praetorium so that they would
not be defiled, but might eat the Passover.
C. However, it was not an outward purity that mattered.
1. It was his purity as the unblemished Lamb of God.
2. The Son of Hezekiah didn’t need to delay a month to be ready; he was
consecrated by the Spirit of the Father to save his people from their sins.
D. So as the hour drew near for Jesus to give his life, he also celebrated
the Passover.
Luke 22:15 (NASB95)
15And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with
you before I suffer;
E. Although he sent Peter and John to prepare the meal, it was clear that
Jesus had already done the preparation.
1. And certainly it is Jesus who offers his body and blood to them (and us)
for the forgiveness of sins.
F. In this last meal before our Lord’s death, Jesus changed the Passover
1. It would no longer be a memorial day and feast to recall the final
plague and exodus from Egypt.
2. Instead, Jesus says:
Luke 22:19 (NASB95)
19And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave
it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in
remembrance of Me.”
3. It is the Son of Man who goes according to the plan of God and frees the
people of God.
G. The Son of David gathers his flock from the whole world even as his
sacrifice pays for the sin of the world.
1. His invitation goes beyond Jerusalem.
2. His invitation goes beyond Judea.
3. His invitation to this sacrificial feast goes beyond even Samaria, the
limit of Hezekiah’s couriers.
4. Yes, Jesus sends his invitation beyond Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria
even to the ends of the earth so that the nations and kings of nations will
come to worship him on the throne.
5. He will feed them with the bread of life.
H. Like what happened to Hezekiah, however, Jesus’ invitation is not
received by all men.
1. Jesus was mocked and scorned also—not by the Samaritans, but by the
2. The King came to Judah, to the temple in Jerusalem itself, and his own
did not receive him.
3. Yet in great mercy his invitation spreads near and far, to you and your
children, to slave and free.
4. His glory has been made known to the nations, and:
John 1:12 (NASB95)
12But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children
of God, even to those who believe in His name,
5. So a multitude from every nation and tribe is indeed gathered into one
family tonight.
6. With one heart, this family is cleansed by the Spirit of God, worshiping
the one Father who is over all, through all, and in all.
I. The Son of God invites us to worship, not in earthly Jerusalem, but in
Spirit and truth.
1. The earthly Jerusalem is a physical and historical place.
2. But true worship happens wherever two or three gather in the name of
Christ Jesus, our Lord.
3. The Passover is celebrated wherever Jesus’ flesh is eaten and his blood
is drunk for eternal life in the Son of Man.
J. Our King and our Lord prepares the table often in the presence of our
1. As he directed the disciples to the place the Passover would be prepared
that holy night in Jerusalem, he has also prepared the feast tonight.
2. And he is not content to give us this Passover remembrance once a year,
but at least every week.
3. As we do this often, we remember not the Passover and exodus from Egypt,
but the Messiah, who gives us freedom and life by his blood.
4. As we do this often, we proclaim the Lord’s death and wait for his
return in glory.
5. Jesus is eager that we eat at his table.
A. While our prayers mingle with the prayers of the saints around the world
tonight and ascend to our Father in heaven, it is the Lord who descends and
enters our mouths to bless us.
B. The Son of Hezekiah Has Prepared the Passover Celebration for Us.


A. Jesus may seem as if he is in no hurry for his final return on the
1. But the Lord is definitely eager to come into our presence in the
2. So we hasten to his Passover.
3. Hurry up!
4. The salvation of God is at hand.
5. Come to his table; it is prepared.
6. Come soon and come often.
B. Whether you’ve been to Communion every other week year after year or
whether you’ve been away for many years like the Judeans in Hezekiah’s day,
let us rejoice tonight.
1. With the Church around the world and in one heart, we receive the
blessings of the Lord. Amen.
C. Let us pray:
LSB 445:4 When You Woke That Thursday Morning
One in faith, in love united,
All one body, You the head,
When we meet, by You invited,
You are with us, as You said.
One with You and one another
In a unity sublime,
See in us Your sister, brother,
One in ev’ry place and time. Amen.
Text: © 1991 Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission: LSB Hymn
License no. 110000247
D. The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
E. In the Name of the Father…Amen.