INI + AMEN.
The Lord wants a full feast. He wants all to taste of His Supper, wants everyone to enjoy the eternal party He’s prepared. Everything’s ready. He made sure of that. 100% He did everything. There was nothing left out of the Lord’s preparation.
It was an eternally planned party, and so the Lord sends out His Servant. The “Servant of the Lord,” as Isaiah as it, comes. He announces the Good News, the Gospel: “Come, for everything is now ready.” The Servant’s coming is the sign that it is ready. His coming is the final and most important step of everything being made ready. He proclaims the feast: “Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you. Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”
And in this Supper, a preparation for the feast to come. For here His body and blood, the very things used to save you, are given you to eat and to drink. Life. Eternal life given away here at His Supper. Eternal life right into your mouth. Just like you learned in confirmation: “For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.” That’s the sort of Supper the Lord’s Servant, Jesus, announces for you.
((3. We receive a rejected gift.))
You and I should rejoice in this gift more than anyone else. Why? Because it came to us after it was rejected. The Servant of the Yahweh came to His chosen people Israel. They had been given the promise of Abraham. They were elected and called. The Lord fulfilled His promises. But Yahweh’s promise, His election, His call, His Supper, His banquet, His Servant Christ are all rejected. Those are the people first invited in the parable, who reject the invitation, making excuses.
“I bought a field, and I must go see it. I bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m going to examine them. I married a woman, and therefore I can’t come.”
The election was made. The call went out. The promise was fulfilled. The banquet set. It was rejected. The Lord suffers Himself to be rejected. They had good reasons, to them. To the Lord, lame excuses. The scariest thing the Lord can do is give you is what you want. The scariest part is those invited didn’t seem to notice. They had their field, oxen, and wife, after all—just what they wanted.
So, on to other people. What sort of people are brought in for the feast then? For such a great and awesome banquet, who’s now on the guest list? Who’s next? And they aren’t just invited. No, they’re just brought in. “The poor, the broken, the blind, the lame”—sinners! Still room. “Go out to the highways and hedges.” Who do you find there? Unsavory people. People no one would invite. Gentiles. But again, “Make them come in” the Lord says.
That’s you and me. We are those who have no hope, no trust, no confidence—we have nothing except that the Master is merciful to us in His Servant Jesus. To you and me, such unclean, sinful Gentiles the Servant comes. To us comes the promise of the Gospel, to us the Supper of His body and blood, to us the eternal marriage feast of the Lamb in His Kingdom which has no end.
((2. Are we going to reject it, too?))
Shall you reject it, too? Shall you put other things before His Gifts? Shall your personal time trump your Jesus’-body-and-blood time? Maybe you’ve got some new cattle, some more chores, or some vacation planned. Maybe we come up with some other excuses for not having His Supper. Is there not even a little extra time you can spare for Bible class?
The scariest thing the Lord can do is give you is what you want. He suffers Himself to be rejected by men, even by you. He’d let you do that. He wouldn’t stop you from putting everything before His giving to you. He doesn’t fight you as you make things more important than His giving to you, your family, and just those around you.
You’ll think you have everything. Everything will be pretty good, in your estimation, so you might even think the Lord is ok with you. He’ll let you reject His Supper, too. He doesn’t have to keep inviting you. He could find other people. He could stop inviting you at all. “For I tell all of you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.”
((1. The call keeps going out.))
The Lord is dead-and-risen set on saving you. He was rejected by His own people, suffered and died. He was counted as a sinner, a rejector of God and His Gifts. He died to save us from that. The punishment we deserve for despising His Word, for not cherishing His body and blood enough to receive it, for rejecting Him, well, He took all that upon Himself, and He died for you, for your sins. Now what?
Wisdom has built her house; she’s hewn her seven pillars. She’ slaughtered her beasts; she’s mixed her wine; she’s also set her table. She’s sent out her young women to call from the highest places in the town, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” To him who lacks sense she says, “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I’ve mixed. Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.”
He keeps delivering His Word, His Absolution, His body and His blood to you. And you get to live! Not just for a little bit, but forever. In Him, in His Gifts, in His life, you inherit heaven itself. That given into your mouth! His body and blood for you, for the forgiveness of your sins, your life, and your salvation. Separate from those gifts, you are dead, despised, and rejected. Without His Gifts, you are without Christ.
But you are not without Christ. The Lord is free and full with His feast and Supper. Everyone who comes, no matter who they are, what they’ve done, no matter how they’re broken, receives the full and free benefit. In fact, He demands a full house for His feast! He just brings people in—“the poor, the broken, the blind, the lame,” sinners, even me you. That’s the Lord’s promise because THE LORD’S BANQUET IS FOR YOU.
That’s what this is all about. THE LORD’S BANQUET IS FOR YOU. For everyone. The eternal one. But not just the eternal one. This one! His body and His blood given in His Supper is for everyone. How can you get ready for the eternal feast without the feast of His body and His blood? He wants one and all to receive it.
THE LORD’S BANQUET IS FOR YOU, and so His Supper is for you, too. There you receive all that Jesus did for you on the cross in, with, and under His Body and Blood, to eat and drink salvation and live forever.
“Come, for everything is now ready”—today and forever.
INI + AMEN.