How can bodily eating and drinking do such great things? Certainly not just eating and drinking do these things, but the words written here: "Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins." These words, along with the bodily eating and drinking, are the main thing in the Sacrament. Whoever believes these words has exactly what they say: "forgiveness of sins." (The Small Catechism, The Sacrament of the Altar)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The body and blood of Jesus don't do what they do because we eat and drink them. Eating and drinking is the way in which we receive these gifts. But what actually gives us the forgiveness of sins is the body and blood of Jesus and His Word that His flesh and blood do exactly that. Again, we're directed to those words, “Given and shed for you, for the forgiveness of sins.”
You could eat and drink Jesus' body and blood and not believe those words. If so, then you would eat and drink judgment upon yourself, for you deny the very Lord whose body and blood are given and His Word that says what they're for (1 Corinthians 11:27-29).
The Lord's Supper is not a mere ritual. It doesn't work because you do it. It gives what it gives because Jesus says what He says. That's always the way with the Lord's gifts. He gives them by His Word so that if the Lord says it, it must be so because He's the Lord. He gives you His body and blood so you can be certain your sins are forgiven. Never doubt that they are forgiven because the Lord who shed His blood on the cross and was pierced for your iniquities gives you that forgiveness in this holy meal.
There are many who say that eating and drinking bread and wine don't do anything and they're right! But in the Lord's Supper, we don't just eat and drink bread and wine, we eat and drink the body and blood of Jesus which He Himself gives us “for the forgiveness of sins.” Against all doubts and arguments to the contrary, we have there a certain gift and promise that drives away despair and fear. Because it is Jesus who gives it and His Word is always true. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Firmly hold with faith unshaken That this food is to be taken By the sick who are distressed, By hearts that long for peace and rest. (LSB 627:5)
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Questions or comments regarding the Reflections may be sent to the Rev. Mark Buetow, Reflections Editor, email@example.com.