Why no Passover meal tonight as many churches have?
What we know of Passover is in Exodus 12, unsure of origins or time of some other traditions.
Main element in Passover meal missing since destruction of temple – no sacrificial lamb!
Why observe O.T. Passover with no lamb when we are given in the Lord’s Supper to partake of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29)?
What do we observe here tonight? (Cf. Mark 14:12-26 and Read v. 22-24)
During Passover meal, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to His disciples saying, “Take, eat, this is my body.”
He also took the cup (the cup of blessing), gave thanks, and gave it to His disciples, with all drinking from it, saying, “This is My blood, that of the New Covenant, which is poured out concerning many.” Matthew 26:28 clarifies this for us by telling us that Jesus’ blood, offered and given here, was “concerning many … being poured out for remission of sins.”
What does Jesus offer and give to us in His Supper?
He gives us bread and wine to eat and to drink, but He also gives us to partake of Him, our Passover Lamb who gave His body into death and shed His blood on the cross to win for us and for all forgiveness of sins and deliverance from God’s just condemnation.
It is His body given for us (Luke 22:19) and His blood of the New Covenant shed for us through which there is forgiveness of God and life everlasting.
How do we partake of Christ’s sacrifice – of His body and blood given and shed for us?
Not capernaitic eating and drinking (as Luther says) – don’t chew his body with our teeth or swallow and digest His body and blood, but we receive it in a supernatural and special way which Luther called sacramental eating and drinking because it occurs only in the Sacrament.
Luther uses the words “in, with and under” to explain that, when we receive the bread and wine in the Sacrament, Christ also gives us to partake of His body and blood.
How can this be? I cannot explain it. I can only take Jesus at His word that, in His Supper, He gives us to partake of His sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world. His blood, that of the New Covenant, is upon us and we have forgiveness for all our sins and a place in His everlasting kingdom.
It is foolish to dispute over how the real presence occurs or at what moment, or what happens to consecrated elements not eaten or drunk.
Point is that Jesus, here, in the Supper to be observed in remembrance of Him and to proclaim His death until He comes (cf. 1 Cor. 11:23ff.), offers and gives to us to partake of His body and blood given and shed for us for the remission of our sins.
Can one be saved without partaking of the Lord’s Supper?
John 6:47-58 says it is necessary to partake of Christ’s flesh and blood – to partake of the Bread of Life – in order to be saved. This, however, was not a reference to the Lord’s Supper, which was not yet given, but to partaking of Jesus and His sacrifice for the sins of the world in faith. Apart from faith in Jesus and His atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world, one cannot be saved.
The Lord’s Supper, along with Baptism and the Word of God, are means whereby God offers, gives and assures to us the forgiveness of sins and eternal life which Jesus won for us by holy life and innocent sufferings and death upon the cross.
One can partake of Christ’s sacrifice in faith through the hearing of the Gospel in the Word and receiving the “bathing (or washing) of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). However, having no desire to partake of Christ’s Supper is evidence of not having faith in Jesus and His sacrifice for the sins of the world.
Does Jesus offer and give His body and blood in the Sacrament only to those who receive it in faith?
No, He offers and gives His body and blood, together with the blessings of forgiveness and life, to all who partake of His Supper – those who receive the Sacrament in faith are assured of forgiveness for all their sins and life everlasting, but those who receive His Supper without faith receive the Sacrament to their condemnation because they reject the gracious working of the Holy Spirit and treat the body and blood of Jesus by which they were redeemed as an unholy thing (cf. 1 Cor. 11:23ff.; Heb. 10:26-31).
This is also true of those who reject the Word of God or God’s gracious working through Baptism (cf. 2 Peter 2:20-22; Jude 3ff.).
How should we examine and prepare ourselves before coming to the Lord’s Table?
Q. 324 in 1941 Catechism explains: “We should examine ourselves to see -
Whether we truly repent of our sins;
Whether we believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior;
Whether we have the good and earnest purpose with the aid of God the Holy Spirit henceforth to amend our sinful lives.”
Do we know and acknowledge that we have sinned and are deserving of God’s wrath and eternal punishment on account of our sins (1 John 1:7-10)?
Do we believe that Jesus died for our sins and made full atonement and that in Him we have forgiveness (1 John 2:1-2)?
Do we purpose, with the help and aid of God’s Spirit, to amend our sinful ways and live for Christ according to His Word (cf. 2 Cor. 5:15; Luke 3:7-8).
Do you believe that Christ, in His Supper offers and gives to You to partake of His body and blood – of His sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world?
If answer is No, consider what God says in His Word of our lost and sinful condition, examine ourselves in light of His holy commandments and repent, looking to Jesus and His sacrifice for pardon and peace,
If answer is Yes, come, receive the bread and wine, remembering how Christ Jesus died for you. Partake of His body and blood given and shed for you for the forgiveness of all your sins which He offers and gives to you to assure you of the forgiveness won for You and which is yours under the New Covenant sealed in His blood. Come away in faith, believing and taking comfort in the fact that in Him You have forgiveness and in Him you have life everlasting!