Today's Reading: Luke 14:15-24
'For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.' " (Luke 14:24)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Ever wonder why we practice closed communion? Why the pastor doesn't give the Sacrament to anyone and everyone? Part of the reason is this: The Lord invites many to His Supper but many give excuses and don't want to come. So they will get their wish and never be with the Lord! Closed Communion is a reminder that we are not to despise the Lord's invitation.
But what is the invitation? It's not just, “Come have Communion.” It's “Come be my disciples, my follower, my student, my child, my little lamb.” This invitation comes not just with the invitation to eat the Supper but to learn all of Christ's Word. We prepare for the Feast of Christ's Body and Blood by learning His Word, learning our Catechism. There we learn to know the promises of our Baptism, learn to confess our sins and to desire what the Supper is and gives to us.
When someone is not given the Sacrament, it doesn't automatically mean they're not a Christian, that is, that they don't believe in the forgiveness of sins for Jesus' sake. However, it IS a warning that they should not despise God's Word so that if they truly desire Christ's Body and Blood, they should be a part of the church where the Word is taught purely and the Sacraments administered in the right way.
Part of the problem in our world is that no one really believes Jesus will judge people and cast them out on the Last Day. But that's exactly what Jesus says here. The time will come when those who despised His Word will be told simply to stay away because they didn't want it and now they can't have it.
But by these words of Jesus, the Holy Spirit isn't just trying to scare people off. He's teaching all of us of the Lord's gracious invitation to learn ALL of His Word and be a part of His church so rather than not commune, we rejoice to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus and all the other gifts He has for us. After all, the feast is one of salvation and life! In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Lord Jesus Christ, you have prepared This feast for our salvation; It is Your body and Your blood, And at Your invitation As weary souls with sin oppressed, We come to You for needed rest, For comfort, and for pardon. (LSB 622:1)
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