Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 62:1-12; Luke 2:1-20
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: Sacrament of the Altar, Pt. 4)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. If someone gives you a gift, do they thank you for opening it? Have you ever sent a thank you note to someone to whom you gave something? “Dear So and So, Thanks for opening the present I gave you.” It sounds silly and it is. The best thanks is knowing the person received a gift and enjoyed it. Just so, we dare not take the Sacrament of the Altar and turn it into something we do, as if by going to Communion we are showing God that we are obedient. In many churches, this is why the word “obligation” or “ordinance” is used of the Sacrament; it has been turned into something we count as having done for ourselves.
But the Words of Jesus teach us that His Body and Blood are not given as a test to see if we were paying attention. His Body and Blood are given for the forgiveness of sins. Therefore, it’s not the eating and drinking (what we do) that gives us this gift, but the words of Jesus which say, “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”
We are always in danger of turning things Jesus gives us into things we give Him or do for Him. When your mother cooks you dinner or your dad orders pizza, they aren’t doing it so they get praised and thanked (though those are nice sentiments and proper to do). They do so because you need to eat and they are there to provide for you.
Just so, Jesus gives us His Body and Blood to feed and forgive and to give us everlasting life. The big deal, then, is not our eating and drinking, but His Word and what He says we receive there. Our eating and drinking are just the means by which the Lord gives us His Body and Blood as food for our souls. Sure, it’s our mouths that do the eating and drinking, but the Lord’s Supper is all gift from our Savior. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
We eat this bread and drink this cup, Your precious Word believing That Your true body and Your blood Our lips are here receiving. This Word remains forever true, All things are possible with You, For Your are Lord Almighty. (Lord Jesus Christ, You Have Prepared, LSB 622:4)