“This is my body,…this is my blood, given for you.”
On this day Christ Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper. In this meal He has bequeathed to His Church the new testament of His body and blood. And like baptism, the gifts given here are not generalized expressions of faith or goodwill. They are, in the Lord’s own words “for you”. Something is given here. Everything depends on this.
Martin Luther once wrote, “The Lord is, indeed, everywhere; but is He there for you?”
Years ago, while on a road trip with my boys, we came upon a horrific accident in the mountains of Colorado. A tour bus which had been zipping along on a beautiful summer day was suddenly ripped into a bloody wreck by a huge boulder that had dislodged from the hillside just above the roadway. Given the realities of life in this world, whenever I hear someone talking of communing with God in nature because God is everywhere, I shudder.
So, our Lord Jesus, who is, indeed everywhere, has given us something in which we may receive, in confidence, a gracious God. Like the water of baptism, the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper are material substances from the natural world. Apart from God’s promise that is all they are. But because Christ Jesus has attached Himself to these earthly elements, commanding that they be given, they become means by which His grace is given – “for you”.
We may attend to these gifts in confidence, knowing that to receive the bread and the wine is to receive all the gifts that Christ’s death and resurrection have won for us.
God is, indeed, everywhere. If we leave it at that, however, we might as well say God is nowhere. But in the Supper Christ Jesus Himself says he is there “for you”. And this is no mere remembrance, no symbol. If that were the case it would not be the Gospel. It’s a promise. Christ is in these gifts. Forgiveness of sins, life and salvation of are given there in the actual eating and drinking. You can count on it.