Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you…” (Matthew 26:26-27)
If you think about it, the night our Lord was betrayed is all about Christ giving us a very special gift. He knew he would be betrayed, and would soon feel the weight of that betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane. How could He be thinking about this special gift on this night?
Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him; he knew that Peter would deny Him and He knew that his closest friends would all desert him. Furthermore, He knows each of us. He knows that we betray Him every day. We are no better than those disciples those many years ago. We, like sheep, have each split off in our own direction, not paying a moment’s notice to our Lord and His sacrifice for us.
Jesus tells the disciples that one of them will betray Him. What is their response? They were sorrowful at the news, but you almost get the impression that they were more worried they were going to be the one. They most certainly had a guilty conscience.
This is our response to God’s Law. Rather than see the truth about us in the Law, repent and admit our sin, we would rather deny it, skirt it somehow, blame our parents, our friends or something else. This is who we are since the Fall. Guilty, but always trying to blame someone or something else.
But this night is about gifts—God's gift of His Son to us.
Jesus in our text does not try to comfort or console or strengthen His disciples with cute sayings and quick answers. He gave them the only thing that could bring comfort to their sin-sick souls. He gave them Himself, His own body and blood.
This is why it matters that what we receive in theSacrament is Jesus' true body and blood. Jesus Himself comes to us, giving us His body and blood for what we need the most, the forgiveness of sins. Let me repeat, Jesus body and blood are given to you for the forgiveness of sins—all your sins.
For Your consoling supper, Lord, Be praised throughout all ages!
Preserve it, for in ev’ry place The world against it rages.
Grant that this sacrament may be A blessed comfort unto me
When living and when dying. (LSB 622:8)