Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
303-665-6105
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April 5 – Maundy Thursday – Physically Connected To Christ

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text for this evening is the Epistle Lesson just read, from 1 Cor. 10.  We begin with prayer.

Dear fellow disciples of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ:

  • There is no question that God is mysterious, and that He has chosen to relate to us for our great good and blessedness in quite mysterious ways.  As a good rationalist and empiricist – well trained in my educational experiences from little on up, I must admit that I have spent a goodly amount of time trying to take the mystery out of relationship with God, and out of my life as a Christian.  I was well trained as well at church – where a good many people only superficially understood the blessings of the Gospel, blessings brought to light through the blessed Lutheran Reformation, but for the most part forgotten in our more “modern” age. 
  • As a pastor, one of the great struggles and challenges I have had is trying to allow the Scriptures to also open the hearts and minds of my fellow believers, my fellow disciples in Christ, to the mysteries presented to us in Holy Scripture – and for the most part I have often encountered the same “rational and empirical” obstacles that I was trained in, and that continue to exert influence in my own thinking. 
  • Certainly one of these great mysteries is this whole matter of the Sacrament of Holy Communion.  Communion itself is mysterious – the Greek Word is “koinonia,” fellowship.  It is a “participation” in, a joining together in, a uniting, so that the two become one common thing – somewhat like marriage.  That this is exactly what the apostle Paul wanted to convey is made clear by his later assertion that all Christians, all of us, are but “one body” – the body of Christ.  But all of this is, of course – mystery.
  • So on this holy evening celebrating Christ’s institution of this great mystery, it is only proper that we spend time and energy considering the good and blessedness God intends to convey to us in this Sacrament, this Communion of Christ’s body and blood.  But first, let us remember that:

 

I.  The Lord Jesus Christ Is God And Lord – Almighty, Above All Things, Including All Natural Law, And That Nothing Is Impossible To Him

John 1:1-3  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made.”

 

Heb. 1:3  “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.

 

And as the Archangel Gabriel asserted to Mary, in regard to Elizabeth’s pregnancy, and Mary’s pregnancy with the Incarnate Son of God:

 

Luke 1:37  “For with God nothing shall be impossible.“

 

Of Him, this Jesus the Christ, the apostle Paul asserts: 

 

Col. 1:15-19  “He is the image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of every creature: For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him:  And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.  And He is the head of the body, the church: Who is the Beginning, the Firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell.”

 

Col. 2:9,10  “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in Him, who is the Head of all rule and authority.”

 

Statement:

  • God is a mystery – and people who try to figure Him out always end up reducing Him to their own level, what they can understand.  But if you listened to these descriptions – the truthful assertions of the reality concerning Christ Jesus, then you understand that He is above, in control of, with power over, everything the astronomers are studying and thinking about throughout the entire universe!  And if you listened to these descriptions – the truthful assertions of the reality concerning Christ Jesus, then you understand that He is above, in control of, with power over, everything the physicists are studying; matter, subatomic particles, antimatter, black holes – He made it and controls it all!  And if you listened to these descriptions – the truthful assertions of the reality concerning Christ Jesus, then you understand that He is above, in control of, with power over, everything that the biologist, chemists, and doctors are studying.

 

Application:

  • If this is true – and this is precisely what it means to be a Christian, one who truly believes in God, then it is clear that whatever Christ says of a thing – well, that has to be what it is.  There ought be no questioning, no argument, no debate, not even a hint of doubt – if we know Who Christ is, the mystery of His awesome Being and Power! 

 

Transition:  If we’re clear on this – which there is no reason for there to be any questions about, then we are ready to move on to the next great mystery, that of “Communion” with Christ, as asserted by Paul in our text.

 

II.  The Lord Jesus Christ Asserts That The Bread Of Holy Communion Is His Body, And That The Wine Of Holy Communion Is The New Covenant In His Blood – Given And Shed For Us For The Forgiveness Of Sins

 

Matt. 26:26-28  “Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you, for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

 

Statement:

  • All that I will say of this is pay heed to the Word of Christ, knowing Who He is.  It is what He says it is – and therefore the apostle Paul correctly asserts: 

 

“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?”

 

  • The answer to these questions, in view of Who Christ is and what He said of these elements, is “Why of course it is!”  If you open your mind to the Word of God and the mystery, great is your blessedness.  If you close your mind in unbelief you remain oblivious to the reality – and forfeit the joy and wonder Jesus wills for you to have.

 

Application:

  • Only those who reject this mystery could stay away from this precious gift of the Lord Jesus Christ – and not want it all the time.  Only the most powerful reasons could compel a person not to commune – given what this Sacrament, this mystery, truly is.
  • So, while Luther correctly  taught that “no one should be compelled to receive the Sacrament,” Luther also understood that the Sacrament in and of itself – simply what it is, the gift which the Lord Christ asserts it to be, would be more than sufficient compulsion for all who truly understand and believe to eagerly and joyfully embrace and receive it whenever it is offered!  And so it is, for those who believe.

 

Transition:  There is one more mystery involved in all of this – asserted by the apostle Paul in our text, a mystery we would also do well to contemplate more deeply and seriously, namely that:

 

III.  In The Sacramental Eating And Drinking Is A Common Participating In Christ’s Body And Blood, Which Also Connects Us And Makes Us One Body, The Body Of Christ

 

     Text:  “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.”

 

Statement:

  • Again, it is our reason, our empiricism, and our culture of sin – which asserts the importance of our independence, individuality,  and self-reliance, which makes it difficult for us to grasp and appreciate this mystery, but to ignore this blessedness is a terrible weakness which opens to the door to many evils, and even malicious and hateful behavior – within the church!
  • What is asserted is that though we remain individuals, we have been incorporated into a common body – that of this same glorious, unimaginably powerful and awesome Lord Jesus Christ.   It is almost too much for us to bear, this blessedness – so we choose to just not think about it much.

 

Application:

  • But it is real – whether or not we understand or acknowledge it.  So, what you do to another Christian, you do to the body of Christ.  You cannot both love Christ and hate His body, of which all Christians are members! 
  • So what does this say of those who stay away from “the church,” both the Sacrament and also the gathering of Christ’s people?  What does it say about us when we value other things more highly than our “fellowship” together as the church, as Christ’s body? 

 

Conclusion:  There is much mystery in how God has chosen to relate to us, the organic, physical relationship that He has established with us in Christ – through the Sacrament of His body and blood.  But one thing is sure – it is for our greatest good and blessedness. Amen.

 

Votum:  And the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in the true faith, which is in Christ Jesus, even unto life everlasting, Amen.