Lent 1 Midweek 2023 (Mt 26, 1–29; 4th Commandment)

Photo by Sangga Rima Roman Selia on Unsplash

Audio: iTunes | Spotify | Download

Jesus said, “This is My blood of the New Testament which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

᛭ INI ᛭

“For forgiveness of sins,” Jesus says. What sins? Well, looking at Jesus’ Passion and the 10 Commandments together during Lent helps us out, because as Jesus travels His Calvary way, the side of the road, as it were, is littered with the refuse of broken Commandments. As Jesus gets closer and closer to Calvary, more and more broken Commandments appear on the scene. This is important to keep in mind as we are going along with Jesus as He travels to Calvary.

Tonight, we’re taking up the 4th Commandment, and we’ll see for this Commandment in particular, as well as all the Commandments, our great need for Jesus to give His blood for the forgiveness of sins, not only at Calvary but also at Communion. He gives Communion not only that we would more confidently believe that He shed His blood for us, but also that we would “be strengthened in faith and in holy living,” even according to the 4th Commandment.

What of the 4th Commandment is given us to consider this evening? Well, it has to do with the religious leaders, Judas, as well as “the certain man” who let Jesus use his upper room. (For the last two, it has to do with how Judas and that certain man relate to Jesus.)

First, the religious leaders. How does looking at them give us to consider the 4th Commandment? Well, we know that the 4th Commandment means “We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.” The religious leaders fit with “other authorities,” and it doesn’t matter if the “other authorities” are evil and godless, like the “chief priests and elders of the people” were.

Earlier in Matthew 23, Jesus says, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice.” He says this because “there is no authority on earth except that which God has established.” (Rom 13; 1 Pet 2) The only thing an earthly authority can do that would cause us not to listen to them would be if they command us to break one of the 10 Commandments.

Oh, how you profane God’s own name by “despising parents and other authorities!” God’s name is “profaned among us” whenever someone “lives contrary to God’s Word.” God baptized you in order to enliven you to serve those in places of authority over you. By disobeying parents, dishonoring presidents, magistrates, mayors, and representatives, disregarding, ignoring any law, statute, limit not only breaks the 4th Commandment but dishonors Jesus. (The fact that we scoff at this when it comes to whatever civil laws we don’t like shows how sinful we are, how much we care for the 4th Commandment at all, and how much we deserve God’s wrath and hell.)

All authorities were put there by God Himself not by the other 50% or so of voters you disagree with absent God. (He uses all manner of ways of putting people in authority.) Who are you to treat them as anything less than God’s servants by your thoughts, words, and actions? (All the Commandments are addressed personally to you, each of you—never “them” over there, but “you” sitting right there.)

You are to honor the authorities as next to God Himself. Belittling them belittles God, for He places them right after Himself in honor and obedience. Commandments 1–3 deal with God Himself, and right next He lists honor for parents and all other authorities. We are not to find a way around honoring those over us, as Judas did for His Rabbi, Jesus. We are to honor and listen to them, as “the certain man” did when Jesus said, “Where is the upper room where I can celebrate the passover with My disciples.”

And those of you who are in authority aren’t let off the hook either! Whether you’re parents, grandparents, teachers, bosses, supervisors, or however God has put you in authority over others. The command to honor parents echoes the command for parents to be honorable. “Fathers do not exasperate your children.” (Eph 6) Parents are commanded to teach their children the Christian faith to their children, and not merely pass the buck to Pastors (as well as the teachers at Good Shepherd). “Let everyone know that it is his duty, on peril of losing divine favor, to bring up his children in the fear and knowledge of God above all things.” (LC I § 174) [Proverbs 1:7; Eph 6]

Jesus suffers the abuse of power by the religious leaders, He suffers rejection and betrayal by His student Judas. He bears the brunt of your sin against the 4th Commandment. The various authorities of life (parents, police, presidents, prime ministers, premiers, etc.) are all masks of God for your good. And for our rejection of these gifts Christ comes. He comes and the path He takes is littered with our rejection, with bits and pieces of commandments broken, shattered by our actions and our inactions, “by what we have done and by what we have left undone.”

He comes to His cross to take care of your sins “with His holy precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death.” There He earns forgiveness for you, there it is purchased, there it is won and secured. But it’s not just at Calvary that the Lord deals with your sins and the sins of all people. He also forgives your sins, your dishonoring of father and mother, your dishonoring of parents and other authorities at His Supper. There He delivers His Calvary forgiveness.

Here we rejoice that Jesus delivers what we are need of Him most to deliver: forgiveness of sins. Here Jesus’ Word rings home: “Drink of it, all of you; this is My blood of the New Testament which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” These ring home because


Even though He is “God overall, blessed forever” (Rom 9), Jesus, King of Kings, submits Himself to our rebellion. This idea will come back later on in Passion readings from Matthew when Jesus swaps places with Barabbas, who was “imprisoned for insurrection and murder.” (Mk 14) He “suffered under Pontius Pilate,” the Roman Governor. For every single dishonor, He honors. For each sin, He is righteous. All in your place, and He endures the wrath of in your place, too. You are forgiven.

But the Lord isn’t done. He would enliven you toward service for those over you, He would enliven toward service for those under you, too. He would make you new, no longer seeking your own power and honor, but His. He uses His almighty power to deliver His body and blood for the forgiveness of all your sins, including those against the 4th Commandment.


Receiving His body and blood strengthens and enlivens us to be honorable, loving parents, charitable and cherishing children, civil and conscientious citizens. As Paul says, “Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.” A true subjection, true service worked by Christ in you through the Holy Spirit even as you are anointed with His death and resurrection (new life) in Baptism and given forgiveness, life, and salvation at His Supper. (Scoffing at the authorities is then a scoffing at the benefits of His Sacraments…)

And this is exactly why, all the more, Jesus, at Calvary and His Supper, forgives your sins, the dishonoring the authorities He’s given for your good.

᛭ INI ᛭

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close