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Wednesday of Lent 3

February 28, 2008

Wednesday of Lent 3                Trinity Lutheran Church
27 February 2008                      Murdock, NE

+ Jesu Juva +

Preaching the Sixth Chief Part

Part Three:  The Benefits of the Sacrament of the Altar:  Food for the Journey

“Take and eat.  This is my body given for you.  Drink of it all of you.  This cup is the new testament in my blood for the forgiveness of your sins.”  The Sacrament of the Altar then is the true Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and drink.  

For you Christians to eat and drink.  For the forgiveness of your sins.  And where there’s forgiveness of sins there is also life and salvation.  What a gift!  Last week we rejoiced in the Sacrament as the medicine of immortality, the antidote that we should not die, but live forever in Jesus Christ.  In other words, the forgiveness given in the Lord’s Supper has benefits that endure to the Last Day, namely, the resurrection of the body.  The Lord will not abandon you to the grave. 

Until then we live in this wilderness world.  Under attack.  Like Israel with its back against the Red Sea as Pharaoh’s armies close in.  Like Elijah whose victory on Mount Carmel against the prophets of Baal unleashed the hatred and persecution of Queen Jezebel.  She gave the order:  shoot to kill.  Elijah fled.  In the wilderness, weak and fed up, he wanted to die.  He slept under a tree.  An angel woke him and gave him food to eat.  Elijah fell asleep again.  And a second time the angel woke him and said:  “Get up and eat or the journey will be too much for you.”  He ate and with the “strength of that food he traveled forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God.”

You are baptized.  And now like Israel who was baptized into Moses through the water of the Red Sea, God leads you into the wilderness until He brings you to the promised land of heaven.  And in this wilderness Satan remains your archenemy.  Tempting, attacking and accusing.  He sneaks and skulks.  Prowling around like a roaring lion.  Looking for every opportunity to wear you down.  To make you impatient.  Using every trick imaginable in order to lead you into despair and give up on God’s forgiveness in Christ. There are the world’s allurements and the weakness of your sinful nature.  You grow weary.  You doubt.  You complain.  You grumble.  You stumble.  You become apathetic and bored.

But in this wilderness God hides you under a Tree.  Under this Tree God feeds you with a food and beverage the world does not know.  The Tree is the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. From it He gives you food and drink for the journey.  “Take and eat.  This is my Body.  Take and drink.  This is my Blood.” Eat and drink from this Tree and you have the nourishment you need to take you your “forty days” to the mountain of God.

So get up and eat.  The bread and wine is for you.  Your “daily food and sustenance so that [y]our faith may be refreshed and strengthened and that it may not succumb in the struggle but become stronger and stronger,” (Large Catechism).  Hard pressed and worn out from this wilderness existence and persecution from Satan, the world, and your old Adam here is Christ’s Body to eat.  The very Body handed over to the high priest for questioning and subjected to false witness so that it might be sentenced to death.  The very Body that is the temple that replaces Solomon’s.  The very Body that was betrayed for twelve pieces of silver.  The very Body denied by Peter three times.  The very Body spat upon, blindfolded, beaten, bound, and crucified.  And for you to drink is Christ’s Blood shed on the cross for you for the forgiveness of your sins.  “This comfort of the Lord’s Supper is given to bring us new strength and refreshment,” (Large Catechism).

So get up and eat.  Get up and drink.  The fruit of the Lord’s Good Friday Tree “brings with it God’s grace and Spirit with all his gifts, protection, defense, and power against death, the devil, and every trouble,” (Large Catechism).  The fruit is the Lord’s Body and Blood.  What a magnificent food for the journey meal from the Lord. 

In the Name of Jesus. 

From → "A" Sermons

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