Reflections: September 16, 2020
Wednesday of the 14th Week after Trinity
by Mark Buetow
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." (Small Catechism: Sacrament of the Altar, pt.3)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The promise of the Sacrament of the Altar not just that it's Jesus' Body and Blood. His Word also tells us why it works and what it does: "Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins." Those words are full of the very promises of the Son of God who made all things.
It was the Word of God, after all, which said, "Let there be plants according to their kind: including wheat, and grapes." When the Lord spoke that Word, those things came to be. It was the Word of God which told Mary, "You will conceive in your womb and bear a Son." Sure enough, Mary conceived the Son in her womb. It was the Word which Jesus spoke, "This is my Body; this is my Blood," which gives to us His flesh and blood under the bread and wine. So it is His Body and Blood. And it is His Word that says it's for your forgiveness.
You don't receive forgiveness just because you eat and drink, but because Jesus promises that forgiveness to you. Of course, you believe that, because you eat and drink it! But it's not our doing it that makes it so. It's true and real because Jesus' words say so.
As God's people, marked by the Cross of our Savior who died and rose, and washed by the water and the Spirit, we believe things are what Jesus says they are because He's Jesus. He's the divine, eternal, Son of God in the flesh and His Word always does what it says. And what He says about His Supper is that it is for you, for your forgiveness, for you to have eternal life. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
We dare not ask how this can be, But simply hold the mystery And trust this word where life begins: "Given and shed for all your sins." ("The Death of Jesus Christ Our Lord" LSB 634, st. 5)
-Rev. Mark Buetow is the pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in McHenry, Illinois.
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