Not Quite Wonderful
We love it when “life is good” and we can easily focus on “what a wonderful world” this is (as the song lyric says). But all is not always wonderful. Though we are not all dealt the same deck, there are disasters, tragedies, many diseases including cancer that slowly deteriorates physical life and Alzheimers that slowly deteriorates personality; there is pain and death. The Bible says this is not how God designed the world. So what happened?
The Deadly Choice
God had given a special freedom to the crown of His creation – human beings, made in His image – freedom to love and honor Him as God, or to do otherwise, which is called sin. Sin would result in death, a disconnect from God, whose very essence is life. The first humans chose the way of sin, and ever since, death, in all of its gradual or abrupt manifestations, has infected this universe.
Root of Our Problems
Sin is spoken of in the Bible more than 1,500 times. God wants us to know where the root of our problems stems from and how pervasive and serious sin is. We don’t like to acknowledge it, but sin’s grip on us is reality. And the consequence of sin is death (Romans 6:23). That consequence can only be overcome through the sacrificial death of a perfect, sinless life.
Long ago, before Jesus walked this earth, God asked His people to sacrifice unblemished animals to make atonement for their sin. The visual image of the sacrifice helped the people grasp both the seriousness of their sin and also the assurance of God’s forgiveness. Without the assurance of His forgiveness, facing the reality of sin in our own lives is utterly despairing.
Those animal sacrifices also pointed to a future perfect human sacrifice – the only payment that would once-for-all cancel sin’s debt before God. In the person of Jesus Christ, God Himself stepped into humanity, lived a perfect life, and paid sin’s debt. He did that by dying on a cross 2000 years ago.
We can’t go back and view that payment being made, but Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper – a simple meal with visual, physical elements of bread and wine – to help all His followers, from that day forward, to grasp the absolute assurance of His full and free forgiveness through His once-for-all sacrifice.
Jesus’ Body and Blood are For You
Jesus instituted this sacred rite or sacrament less than twenty-four hours before His death. He was celebrating with His disciples God’s deliverance in days of old through a special annual meal of remembrance. Amazingly, on this occasion, He handed His disciples bread and said, “Take and eat; this is My body given FOR YOU.” Then He gave them a cup of wine saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28).
It is a mystery how it happens, but Jesus (to Whom quantum physics and beyond is no mystery), Jesus (the Master of the universe) brings together a communion of His body with bread and His blood with wine. In eating them, we experience communion with Jesus in an intimate and personal way. This is why the Lord’s Supper has been called Holy Communion. It is also called the Sacrament of the Altar because it flows from the altar of Jesus’ cross where He offered His body and blood for you and me.
Taking Sin to Jesus
None of us can free ourselves from the grip and guilt of sin, but we can lay it before Jesus. He loves us. He wants us to come to Him. He instituted this Holy Sacrament for His people to observe often, so that they might grasp with great confidence His forgiveness, and know the comfort and peace of communion with their Savior.
Connected to Life
At Christ Lutheran Church, Montrose, we observe the Lord’s Supper at least two times each month. We warmly invite you to visit and learn of Jesus forgiveness for you. What a joy to have Jesus invite us: Take eat, take drink; My body and My blood given for you, for your salvation. Connected to Him, we are not overcome by death and its manifestations, but we have life in Him and with Him for all eternity.