But that person is worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” (Small Catechism: Sacrament of the Altar)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. In his teaching on worthy reception of the Sacrament of the Altar in the Large Catechism, Luther writes: “Whoever now accepts these words and believes that what they declare is true has forgiveness. But whoever does not believe it has nothing, since he allows it to be offered to him in vain and refuses to enjoy such a saving good. The treasure, indeed, is opened and placed at everyone’s door, yes, upon his table. But it is necessary that you also claim it and confidently view it as the words tell you. This is the entire Christian preparation for receiving this Sacrament worthily.”
Faith receives what Jesus gives. It is as simple as that. Unbelief blocks the path of those gifts. Who in the world would refuse such a gift as Jesus’ Body and Blood for the forgiveness of sins? Well, your old Adam would. He would rather nurse and nurture his sin. He would prefer to withhold forgiveness from all those losers who have sinned against him. Along with the Pharisee in Jesus’ parable in Luke 18, the old Adam says, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.”
Yet the “treasure indeed, is opened and placed at everyone’s door.” Jesus died for the Pharisee and the tax collector alike. His desire is for the life, not the death, of sinners. So, Jesus comes for the broken and repentant sinners to rescue them. He feeds you with His precious Body and Blood and fills you with faith to receive that gift as the words tell you. To receive the Sacrament worthily is to trust the words of Jesus. Mistrusting the words of our Lord or trusting in our own righteousness makes us truly unworthy.
God be praised that He sends the Word of the Law to bring us to repentance and the Word of forgiveness that brings us life. And best of all, thanks be to God that such forgiveness is placed in our mouths in the Holy Supper of our Lord! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Lord Jesus Christ, life-giving bread, May I in grace possess You. Let me with holy food be fed, Your wounded hand now feed me. Though weary, sinful, sick, and weak,
Refuge in You alone I seek, Give me Your grace and mercy. (“Lord Jesus Christ, Life-Giving Bread” LSB 625, st.1)
Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch