Summary: What a marvelous inheritance Jesus has left us in the Lord's Supper, his last will and testament! Let's reflect on it as guided by Jesus' words which Martin Luther used in the Small Catechism.

Text: Selected Text

Theme: Reflections on the Lord's Supper from Luther's Small Catechism

The Setting for the Supper

Part One: What is the Sacrament of Holy Communion?

Part Two: What blessings do we receive through this eating and drinking?

Part Three: How can eating and drinking do such great things?

Part Four: Who, then, is properly prepared to receive this sacrament?

Season: Maundy Thursday

Date: April 1, 2010

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Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:

The Setting for the Supper

Come back with me to that upper room in Jersualem. Jesus and the twelve recline for the ancient Passover meal. For fifteen centuries the people of Israel had eaten the roasted lamb with bitter herbs, the unleavened bread and wine. They remembered the great deliverance. Their slavery in Egypt ended as the firstborn died in all the homes of the Egyptians unmarked by the blood on the doorposts. But the angel of death passed over the Israelite homes marked with the blood of the paschal lamb. They ate ready to leave, for tonight, they were set free.

Watch, dear friends, as the true passover Lamb takes the flat cake of bread made without yeast and breaks it to give a piece to each disciple. "Take and eat. This is my body, given for you," he says. Later he takes the cup of wine and passes it. "This is my blood of the new covenant, poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins."

This is his last will and testament. For soon he would die, giving himself as the sacrifice for an even greater deliverance. For you see, dear friend, through him, the Lamb of God, you and I are set free, free from sin's power to damn us, free through the forgiveness of our sins! That's the inheritance his last will and testament leaves you and me. Forgiveness, that is, freedom from sin's guilt, so also freedom from Satan's slavery and death's tyranny. Forgiven through the body and blood of Christ. What an inheritance!

Part One: What is the Sacrament of Holy Communion?

On this most momentous of nights, Jesus speaks with plain, simple words as he gives his last will and testament. "This is my body. This is my blood." How could he be any more clear and succinct?

But how far beyond our understanding the truth those words convey! He holds bread, but he says, "This is my body." The cup's filled with wine, but he says, "This is my blood." It doesn't make sense! "Human reason, though it ponders, Cannot fathom these great wonders" ("Soul, Adorn Yourself with Gladness," /Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal/ 311:5).

Human reason will not find any physical evidence. Even the forensics of the best CSI unit won't discover a trace of blood in the wine or any flesh in the bread. Christ's body and blood are not there in any kind of way that our physical senses can detect. So human reason says, "It's can't really be there if I can't see, taste, or touch it. It must just be a way to remember Jesus by using the bread and wine as symbols to represent his body and blood." That's what human reason says.

But what did Jesus say? "This is my body. This is my blood." In this supper he gives you himself in way that we cannot fathom, but our limited ability doesn't make it any less real or true. His body and blood are present in a way that goes beyond our natural sense. It's supernatural, miraculous. His body and blood are really and truly there in a most special way. I know and believe this, not because my senses or science tells me (they say the opposite), but because Jesus, my dear Savior, says so.

As you, dear friend, eat the bread, you most certainly and surely are also eating his real, true body, the same body he sacrificed on the cross for your sins. He doesn't give you a piece of it or a part of it, but he gives you his whole body, because that's what paid for your sins. Yes, for your sins, since it's you who are eating. As you, dear friend, drink the wine, you most certainly and surely are also drinking his blood, the same blood that flowed from his head, his hands, his side. You drink not just a drop of it but the fullness of it each time you come. For he poured out his blood without measure for you. Yes, for you, since it's you who are drinking.

"This is my body. This is my blood." Whether you believe it or not, that is the truth, that is what you eat and drink here, that is what the Lord's Supper is -- because Jesus says so.

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