Given and Shed For You — What Preaching!
2 April 2015
Catechetical Sermon Series: The Ten Commandments
+ Jesu Juva +
Mark 14:12-26 / 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 / Third Commandment
Remembering the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy is all about God being God for you His sinners through His word. God is a talker. A speaker. Doing and giving what He says with His words. Did you catch that? I’d better say it again. God gives gifts or God serves His sinners through His words!
So, you are given by God to take a little time out of your hustle and bustle schedules (yes, that even includes sporting activities – yes, that even includes work schedules) in order to let God speak to you through His Word. To be perfectly passive receivers of His speaking to you through His Word.
So that through His Word He actually holies you. He sanctifies you. He cleanses and purifies you from all your sin through His divine word preached and proclaimed by the preacher namely, “I forgive you.” When you’re hearing those words or any of Christ’s words, you’re hearing Christ Himself. The living voice of Christ is heard in the divine word of forgiveness. Consequently, you are to make use of God’s Word and exercise yourself in it. Or as the Small Catechism teaches: you should fear and love God so that you do not despise PREACHING and His word but hold it sacred and gladly HEAR and learn it.
Magnificent Sabbath Day in-the-way-of-the-Third-Commandment preaching by the Lord Jesus on the night in which He was betrayed. They are His divine words of promise attached to and permeating the Passover meal’s bread and wine. “Take it,” Jesus says of the bread, “this is my body.” With regard to the cup of wine Jesus flat out guarantees: “This is my blood of the new testament which is poured out for many.”
These are the words of the Divine and Eternal Majesty Himself. From His own divine mouth. From His own divine lips. Who spoke all of creation into existence by speaking. “Let there be light,” and there it was! The Lord’s Supper words are God’s sacred Word. They are HIS MOST HOLY WORD. Gladly you are to hear them. Happily you are to learn them and make use of them. After all, they are FOR YOU. For your benefit – giving you the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.
But will you? Or are you bored with His words? Do you routinely blow off His words? Ignore them? Disregard them? Snub your nose at them? Give them the middle finger? Or would you change the Lord’s words to what you believe are better words? Like: “This symbolizes my body,” or “This is only a symbol of my blood” which translates into – just bread and wine on the altar – only bread and wine in the pastor’s hands – merely bread and wine in my mouth. No body. No blood.
But that’s not what Jesus says or promises. “Take it; THIS BREAD IS MY BODY.” “THIS CUP OF WINE IS MY BLOOD of the new testament which is poured out for many.” There’s no spinning it. No massaging it. “Is” means is. The bread in the Lord’s Supper IS His Body. The wine in the Lord’s Supper IS His Blood. St. Paul makes this very clear when he asks you these rhetorical questions. “Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation [or communion] in the blood of Christ?” Well, is it? Of course it is! “And is not the bread that we break a participation [or communion] in the body of Christ?” Well, is it? Of course it is!
So tonight you hear the Lord’s words from the Lord Himself. It is His sermon, His preaching to you and for you: “Take it; this is my body.” “This is my blood of the new testament which is poured out for many.”
Again, these are the words of the crucified and risen Jesus who won and achieved the treasure of salvation FOR YOU in His Good Friday death. That which was once acquired under Pontius Pilate at the cross on Golgatha is ever again distributed: the body of Jesus given FOR YOU, the blood of Jesus shed FOR YOU – for the forgiveness of sins.
Through these specific words of proclamation (“Take it; this is my body,” etc.) Jesus speaks to you. He gives you exactly what He says through His words, namely, His body and His blood – FOR YOU – for the forgiveness of your sins. That’s why the Word of Institution are to be spoken or chanted facing the congregation. Again, His words are preaching words. He’s talking to you in and through His words so that you know and believe exactly what He’s giving you.
The whole point of the Sacrament is this. It is the Lord’s service to you and for you. He came not to be served, but to serve. He is among you as one who serves. He bestows His Body and Blood with the bread and the wine by virtue of His Word. You are to passively receive or commune, to be given to by the Lord from His Word of promise. That’s in keeping with the Third Commandment’s point of making sure you hold His Word sacred and gladly hear and learn it – making use of it – exercising yourself in it. That means you go to the Lord’s Supper when it’s offered and that you believe what Jesus gives according to His Word. As you believe His Word you have precisely what He promises.
In the Name of Jesus.