The Lord's Supper: Supreme Gift
I remember the first time I assisted with the distribution of the Lord's Supper. Trembling, with chalice in hand, I poured the Lord's blood over the parched lips of His forgiven people. The thought kept running through my mind, “One tiny drop of this, the Lord's blood, is enough for the salvation of all mankind.” This is a tremendous thought, for this is truly a tremendous gift. Here, at His altar, the God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, the Word made flesh, puts His flesh in bread and His blood in wine for me, for my teeth and my faith, for the forgiveness of all of my sin.
We would never be so bold or daring to take something so precious into our hands or our mouths, but that we have His command, “Take and eat... take and drink.” There is tremendous comfort in these words, for because of them we know just what to do with the Body and Blood Jesus is giving: eat, drink, and believe the promise that here is the meal of forgiveness and new, eternal life. We believe, and in believing we have the life that Jesus gives.
The Lord's Supper is a priceless gift. In cynical moments I've often wondered how many people would be in church if, instead of the Lord's blood, we had $100 bills rolled up in the tray. “Come forward and take this money. Have it, it's a free gift.” I suspect church would be full to overflowing. Money is, as Luther taught in the Large Catechism, the most common idol. But think: $100 or Jesus' blood? $1,000, even $1,000,000 or Jesus' blood? There's really no price that we could put on this, all the riches in the world are not even close. The gifts given to us are beyond everything that we know; they are infinite in value.
So it comes to us a a great surprise that the Lord has this gift for us. “Take and eat, this is My body, given for you. Take and drink, this is My blood of the New Testament, shed for you for the remission of sin.” We could respond to these words with a shocked, “For me?” “Yes,” says Jesus, “for you.” The gifts of Jesus body and blood are for us, and with them the promise of forgiveness. “Shed for you for the remission of sins.” This is what the “New Testament” means, the forgiveness of sins in there. The Lord promised through Jeremiah, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new testament with the house of Israel... for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” [Jeremiah 31:31-34] And even more, for where the forgiveness of sins is, there also is life and salvation.
In the Lord's Supper the treasures of heaven are unloaded for us. Given freely for our benefit. Let us all thank the Lord for His Supper where He gives us His gifts supreme.
The Lord's Blessings in Christ,
The Institution of the Lord's Supper
For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you: That the Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread. And when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, “Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me.”
After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, “This cup is the New Testament in My blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till He come.
[1 Corinthians 11:23-26]