04072019 Lent 5 Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

“It Happened on That Fateful Night”

04072019 Lent 5 Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

April 7, 2019
“It Happened on That Fateful Night”
Sermon Audio

Driving home from our last Wednesday Lenten worship as we drove to the top of the hill of our subdivision, we could see the horizon to the west and how it was still not night but dusk.  Behind us the darkness was clear and very soon would catch up. The hymn we contemplate this morning “It Happened on That Fateful Night” will help us better understand how God’s light on that ‘Fateful Night’ demonstrated His love for us and all of mankind.  Let’s begin to immerse ourselves in Jesus ‘Fateful Night’ by singing the first two stanzas of “It Happened on That Fateful Night”.

1 - It happened on that fateful night When pow’rs of earth and hell arose Against the Son, our God’s delight, And friends betrayed him to his foes.

2 - Before the bitter scene began, He took the bread, and blest and broke.  What love through all his actions ran! What wondrous words of love he spoke!

When Jesus, ‘the Son, our God’s delight’ was by ‘friends betrayed’ ‘on that fateful night’ it clearly showed that Jesus could not trust His friends.  Jesus, God’s Son had His trust violated when His ‘friends betrayed him’. And it was not a simple betrayal of ‘trust’, but was a result of the ‘pow’rs of earth and hell’ that ‘arose Against the Son’ and would end in Jesus innocent death.  Yet, Jesus willingly endured the ‘pow’rs of earth and hell’ as Isaac Watts wrote, as the sacrifice for the sin of all of mankind.  So in retelling the events of the day Watts teaches the faith of the church for his followers as well for us today and what Jesus willingly endured for us and all of mankind.  Jesus modeled a forgiveness that found its root and connection with and for us today before that 'Fateful night’.

As “It Happened on That Fateful Night” tells, ‘Before the bitter scene began’ a different, yet clearly powerful event unfolded.  ‘He took the bread, and blest and broke’, yes this is the institution of the Lord’s Supper.  Where Jesus instituted for us and for all of mankind the food of heaven.  Martin Luther would declare , “in, with and under” the Bread and Wine, we receive truly His precious Body and Blood, given and shed for us for the forgiveness of sin.”  This is a clear demonstration that this ‘Fateful Night’, Jesus showed, ‘What love through all his actions ran!’  So that those who come to the Lord’s Table and receive a blessing of the sacrament or on our foreheads with a cross would hear ‘What wondrous words of love he spoke’ to and for each and every one of us out of His love for us.   

Let’s continue with the third and fourth stanzas of “It Happened on That Fateful Night”.

3 - My body, broken for your sin, Receive and eat as living food.”  He took the cup and blest the wine: “Share this new testament, my blood.”

4 - “Do this,” he said, “till time shall end, Remembering your dying friend; Meet at my table and record The full obedience of your Lord.”

William Hauser who composed the tune we sing today was a jack of all trades.  He was a minister, medical doctor, teacher, composer, and music publisher. Clearly he didn’t have the internet or phones, so he had time, but our tune used today is meant to convey the difficultness of what Jesus endured.

As Watts writes in “It Happened on That Fateful Night”, ‘My body, broken for your sin, Receive and eat as living food’ was a gift from God for us.  For Jesus gift was not only the ‘living food’ it was Holy Food, as a clear demonstration of love for us to receive and to share with one another in the forgiveness of sin, life and salvation.  ‘He took the cup and blest the wine: “Share this new testament, my blood.’ that is given and shed for us.  This is so when we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we are called to daily ‘forgive those who trespass against us’ no matter the offence, no matter the person and no matter how many times we are wronged.  Jesus says in Matthew we are to forgive, not seven, but seventy times seven. Because Jesus forgiveness He offers us is limitless as well, this is why on that ‘Fateful night’, He instituted the meal that gives us the forgiveness of sins and the ‘living food’ of heaven.

Jesus instructs us further as Watts writes, ‘“Do this,” he said, “till time shall end” so that this Holy Meal, will not be complete until ‘time shall end’.  For by our gathering and our ‘Remembering your dying friend’ it is so we can receive the forgiveness only He can offer.  So when we ‘Meet at my table and record The full obedience of your Lord.”’ we are connected across time, space and with the saints of all time and space in this gift of grace, mercy, and love from God for us and all of mankind.

The final stanza of “It Happened on That Fateful Night” places the exclamation point on the gift we receive.  ‘O Lord, your feast we celebrate; We show your death; we sing your name Till you return’ looks at Jesus ‘living food’ with the eyes of faith.  For the napkin at the table of the Lord is folded neatly, because the feast continues every time we gather around the Table of the Lord.  And not until His return shall the Holy Meal He instituted be complete, when all of mankind will gather together as the full family of God.  And this will be ‘when we shall eat The marriage supper of the Lamb’ in His Kingdom and His eternal presence.  So though we gather today in the day, it is clear that God’s gift to us in the meal we share today is a foretaste of the feast to come.  Let’s conclude as ‘we sing’ the last stanza about God’s gift of grace, mercy and love offered to us in “It Happened on That Fateful Night”.

5 - O Lord, your feast we celebrate; We show your death; we sing your name Till you return, when we shall eat The marriage supper of the Lamb.  AMEN.