Sermons

Holy Wednesday (1 Ki 17:8–16)

April 12, 2017
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

So, what’s left to talk about? We’ve confessed what the Sacrament of the Altar is, where that’s written, what are the benefits of the eating and drinking, how can bodily eating and drinking do such great things, and who receives this sacrament worthily. We’ve confessed all these things over the past few weeks. They’re good to confess, and it’s even helpful and a blessing to know by heart. So, what’s left?

Now, there could be a mishmash of things. Lots of different teachings on the Lord’s Supper—that either begin with the Lord’s Supper or end there. That’d be a great bible class, but not necessarily a good sermon—not one I’d want to listen to, anyway.

It all comes down to what Jesus says and gives. It’s all His Word and Gift, we simply receive and confess. We see this in His Supper, and the widow of Zarephath and Elijah saw it, too. When it comes to Jesus’ body and blood in the Supper, it all boils down to this point:

THE LORD JESUS ALWAYS ACTS ACCORDING TO HIS WORD.

((I. When He speaks, He acts.))

When the Lord speaks, He acts. That’s the way it is. That’s how He created, right? “God said, ‘Let there be Light,’ and there was light.” He said, “Lazarus, come forth,” and the dead man came out alive. He said, “I’m going to die and the third day rise,” and then He did! “For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.”

So it was at Zarephath. The Lord Jesus, “the Word of Yahweh,” came to Elijah. “I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” All she’s got it a bit of oil and a handful of flour, but “she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days.” What gift! “The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of Yahweh.”

Still today the Lord Jesus stands by His Word. He’s the Word from the Father, and so, if He speaks, He’s going to do it. If He says, “I’m gonna die as a ransom for many.” That’s what His death means. “I’m gonna rise from the dead.” That’s what He’ll do. “It is finished!” Then it’s finished! “Make disciples by baptizing,” then Baptism makes disciples. “If you forgive anyone his sin, they’re forgiven,” then that’s what pastors are called to do. “This is My body, this is My blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” Then that’s delivered in the Supper.

“The all-powerful words of Christ’s testament produce and make Christ’s body and blood present in the Supper” (EP VII.35)—not our faith, nor our receiving. We always want to add something to make sure we got the goods. Our faith, our motivation, our preparation, our good works, our work of receiving, our feelings—whatever it may be, we’re always trying add ourselves more into the equation. More than just receiving what Jesus is giving.

That’s Old Adam religion though. True religion is that Christ gives what He says, and we receive what He says: His body and blood for forgiveness. His body and blood are truly and really present, they’re distributed (handed out), they’re received (eaten and drunk) because that’s what Jesus says.

The believer simply receives the benefits of what Jesus is giving: His body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. But those who do not believe receive to their harm: body and blood for judgment, as Paul says. But either way, Jesus is true to His Word. HE ACTS ACCORDING TO HIS WORD: the bread and wine are His body and blood whether you believe it or not. Just like that widow’s jars were full of flour and oil wether she believed it or just thought Elijah was, well, annoying.

((II. When His sent servant speaks, He acts.))

And that’s where we are now. It’s not just Jesus speaking. He always does the acting, but He’s got His men, His sent-ones, and they speak, too. But it doesn’t matter. When His sent servant speaks, Jesus acts. “He who hears you, hears Me,” He says.

That’s what happened with Elijah. Elijah said to her, “Do not fear…For thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.’” That widow, Elijah, and her household, all of them ate their fill daily, with great joy I’m sure. For “The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the LORD that he spoke by Elijah.”

So also today. The Lord delivers to you through His sent servant. As one hymn on the absolution puts it: “From your own mouth comes forth a word; Your shepherd speaks, but you are heard; Through him your hand now stretches out, Forgiving sin, destroying doubt.” (LSB 616:4) So also the singing of the Words of Jesus: “as it is written in 1 Corinthians 10:16, “The cup of blessing that we bless.” This blessing occurs through the reciting of Christ’s words.” (EP VII.9)

Whether He speaks, or wether His sent servant speaks, the outcome is the same:

THE LORD JESUS ALWAYS ACTS ACCORDING TO HIS WORD.

The Lord delivers what He says. We certainly receive it, but our receiving it doesn’t make it so. It all comes down to what Jesus says and gives. It’s all His Word and Gift, we simply receive and confess. “Body and Blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” “The Word is added to the element, and it becomes a sacrament.” We simply receive what the Word says and that means forgiveness, peace, and life for you.

INI + AMEN.

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