That Each May Believe that Christ Suffered for Him

Maundy Thursday

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

“What I have given you I received from the Lord. For the Lord Jesus, in the night when he was betrayed, took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and said: Take, eat. This is my body, broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me. In the same way also took the cup after the supper and said: This cup is the New Testament in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are to proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

 

First of all, this is to be the greatest comfort of all Christians, that the Lord Christ’s body was given for them and his blood was shed for them. For when you believes this, it is impossible that you let sin or anything afflict you. Why? Because you know that this treasure, by which your sin is done away with, is by far greater than your sin. But Christ does not leave it at the comfort that is proclaimed by the Word in this way. With the bread, he gives you his body to eat. And with the wine, he gives you his blood to drink, as the Words clearly say, even if the devil hates it, so that you may receive personally such body and blood: The promise means you and is to be yours, just as you receive body and blood by your mouth for yourself, and not for someone else. For this is the main purpose: that each may believe that Christ suffered for him and not only for St. Peter, St. Paul, and other saints. Christ wanted to assure each Christian of this in his testament, since each receives and consumes for himself such testament, that is, Christ’s body and blood. This is why it is not said unjustly that we receive forgiveness of sins in this sacrament. For where Christ is, there is forgiveness of sins. Here are his body and blood, according to his words. Now, those who receive – by eating and drinking – and believe that it is the Lord’s body, given for them, and his blood, shed for the forgiveness of sins – should they not have the forgiveness of sins? This is one fruit, the greatest and best, we have in this testament. The other fruit for which this testament is necessary is that Christendom is to remain united and have one faith and doctrine. Now, in order that things may go in the most equal manner among the Christians, they must not only come together in the sermon where the hear one word by which they are called to one faith and where they all cling to one Head. Additionally, they must also gather at one table and eat and drink together. When it comes to listening to a sermon, it may well happen that one hears my sermon whose heart hates me. Therefore, even though the gospel also keeps the Christians together and makes them of one mind, this Supper does this even more (although hypocrites also attend), where each Christian confesses publicly and individually what he believes. There the unbelievers go their own way, and those who have the same faith, in their hearts one hope in the Lord – they gather together. This is a very necessary thing in the church that they be drawn together in this way, lest there be division in the faith. This is why it is called “communion,” and those who do not want to be like the other Christians in faith, doctrine, and life are called “ex-communicated,” as they are unlike the others in their doctrine, words, mind, and life. This is why they should not be tolerated among the little flock that is of one mind, lest they divide Christ’s flock and create schisms. Christ uses the holy sacrament to keep his little flock together.

 

St. Louis ed., 13.1:303-304.

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