Kruiz edited
Poured Out for You
Holy Thursday
29 March 2018
On Holy Thursday our Lord Jesus Christ gives us the greatest gift and treasure in the Sacrament of His body and blood. Christ gives us the most precious thing on the humble altars of our churches. The sacrament is not something that happened only long ago but it remains and is an ongoing gift which Christ is assured to his church on earth through his own word of promise given to us in the testament: "Keep on doing this in remembrance of me." Nor is this remembrance a mere calling to mind. It is the promise that through the very word of Christ shared over the elements of bread and wine in our churches what was given and shed on the night of his betrayal continues to be given and shed every time His Word is used in connection with these things. The words of institution themselves are perfectly clear in this regard. For when Christ speaks of what is in the cup, He describes it as "poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins." The verb "poured out" is a present participle in Greek. That means the pouring out occurs simultaneously with the main verb. In other words, the pouring out of blood occurs at the altar every time the Supper is offered to God's people through the Word intoned over the elements.

Of course, there is a legion of objections to be raised against this Word of God, "How can this be?" "Wasn't Christ's blood only shed upon the cross?" And so on. First, what Christ says comes to be, whether or not you know how he accomplishes it. This again is the function of faith. Faith trusts what God promises in his word. Anything else is unbelief. Second, yes, of course, Christ's blood was shed for the salvation of the world fully and completely on the cross of Calvary. It was a meritorious satisfaction offered by God for the sins of the world. But the benefits of this meritorious satisfaction continue to come into our possession by that blood being poured out on our altars and that body being placed into our mouths. This is what the Lutheran Church means by a means of grace. Christ has commanded that we continue to offer the benefits of his sacrifice personally and individually by placing them into the mouths of his children through this body and blood. Nor is this a re-sacrifice of the blood of Christ. In the Eucharist, Christ offers his blood to us upon the altar and poured out for the forgiveness of sins. Through this blood poured out we receive the forgiveness of sins merited by Christ our Lord on the cross. The sacrament merits nothing. It gives what was long ago merited by Christ and makes it certain by placing it in our mouths; giving comfort to troubled consciences and broken hearts.

What does this precious gift do for us? What are its benefits? Jesus tells us that the sacrament forgives sins. How precious this is! We can live with a clear conscience, though we are sinners, because our Lord has invited us to His Table and there by the hands of His ministers has placed into our mouths the sign and seal of the forgiveness of sins. His body and blood are in us. We walk away clean after having brought our whole load of sin and dumping it before the altar at which we kneel. Nothing remains. All is taken care of. Your sin is no longer yours. It is his. He has cleansed you with these gifts.

We flock to this banquet on the night of its institution knowing what precious things are given there. The sacrament attracts us like a fountain of life. Life is overflowing to us. We come to the Table like the little birds, mouths open, chirping, and waiting to be fed. Lord Jesus, feed us on this life-giving food.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Martin Luther
"We speak about the bread and wine that is Christ's body and blood and has the words attached to it. That, we say, is truly the treasure-and nothing else-through which such forgiveness is gained. Now the only way this treasure is passed along and made our very own is in the words 'Given...and shed for you.' For in the words you have both truths, that it is Christ's body and blood, and that it is yours as a treasure and gift. Now Christ's body can never be an unfruitful, empty thing that does or profits nothing. Yet, no matter how great the treasure is in itself, it must be included in the Word and administered to us. Otherwise we would never be able to know or seek it.

"Therefore also, it is useless talk when they say that Christ's body and blood are not given and shed for us in the Lord's Supper, so we could not have forgiveness of sins in the Sacrament. Although the work is done and the forgiveness of sins is secured by the cross (Jn 19:30), it cannot come to us in any other way than through the Word. How would we know about it otherwise, that such a thing was accomplished or was to be given to us, unless it were presented by preaching or the oral Word (Rm 10:17; 1Co 1:21)? How do they know about it? Or how can they receive and make the forgiveness their own, unless they lay hold of and believe the Scriptures and the Gospel? But now the entire Gospel and the article of the Creed: 'I believe in...the holy Christian Church,...the forgiveness of sins, and so on' are embodied by the Word in this Sacrament and presented to us. Why, then, should we let this treasure be torn from the Sacrament when the fanatics must confess that these are the very words we hear everywhere in the Gospel? They cannot say that these words in the Sacrament are of no use, just as they dare not say that the entire Gospel or God's Word, apart from the Sacrament, is of no use."

 Martin Luther, Large Catechism, 5.28-32
Matthew 26:26-29

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." (ESV)
O Lord, in this wondrous Sacrament You have left us a remembrance of Your passion. Grant that we may so receive the sacred mystery of Your body and blood that the fruits of Your redemption may continually be manifest in us; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

For those who do not know of their own hunger and need for the Sacrament, that they would be invited to the Table and there find the true food that comes down from heaven

For the family of Carlos Broughton, that they would be comforted by the message of life in these holiest days of the church

For LouAnn Webber, who is undergoing further medical testing in preparation for surgery, that the Lord Jesus would bring her hope and rescue
Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias  Isenheim Altarpiece (c. 1515)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2018
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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