We must never regard the sacrament as a harmful thing from which we should flee, but as a pure, wholesome, soothing medicine that aids you and gives life in both soul and body. For where the soul is healed, the body is helped as well.~The Large Catechism 5:68
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, In the night in which he was betrayed our Lord Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper. He knew that not only Judas Iscariot would betray him, but that all his disciples would—as it is written, “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered” (Matt. 26:31). The Lord instituted the sacrament of communion to comfort not only those particular disciples, but all who would one day follow him—including you and me.
Jesus knew that life in this world would not be easy for his Christians. So, “He took bread, gave thanks, and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat, this is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. Again, after supper he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink saying: ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin. Do this in remembrance of me.” And he means this, it actually is his body and actually his blood. This means Jesus is not shut up in a heaven far away we must ascend to. Rather, he comes down to us again and again in his word proclaimed and his sacraments administered. In his body.
Now, why is it important to insist on this? God only deals with human beings through the external word. That is the word that enters into our ears when the preacher preaches, the word that flows over our skin in the water of baptism, and the word that touches our lips in the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper. What is this external word? It is Jesus Christ himself—who is always fully God and fully a human being. He is not divided but is always one Christ. God does not deal with us outside of this Person. Wherever this Jesus is there is forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.
He instituted the Lord’s Supper knowing that we are weak and in need of his strength. It is a soothing medicine, to heal us in both soul and body. A person who has no weakness has no need of this sacrament. But then, they also have no need of Christ. Those who are already pure are too good for God. But the ungodly, those who know their weakness need not be afraid to partake of the Lord’s Supper for it was instituted for the weak and the sinful. That they may be healed and strengthened in their faith. His body and blood was given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sin. And he continues to forgive you every time you receive this bread and wine. The Lord’s Supper is God-in-a-bun and God-in-a-cup. That is, the God who became a human being and tore himself apart that you may live.
Peace and joy.
Pastor Levi Powers
Mount of Olives Lutheran Church
Rock Springs, WY