DEVOTION – THE LORD’S SUPPER
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18)
Who is the most popular person in the dormitory at Immanuel, Eau Claire? On any given day, that would be the one who has received a care package from home. When I was in high school
there and a brown-paper-wrapped box arrived from Seattle, my fellow dorm-dwellers naturally expected me to share some of the homemade goodies inside. I was genuinely glad when the box would arrive, and generally willing to share. Nothing says “love” like cookies, dried fruit and packaged soup, along with news from home! Oh, I was aware on other days, too, that my parents cared about me and were thinking of me. But the personal touch that came with a care package was an immediate and comforting expression of that love.
Have you received that kind of comfort lately from your true home—that is, your home in heaven?
It was many centuries ago, and a half a world away, when Jesus last spoke with His followers before He went to the cross. He told them “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3). Since that time the Lord Jesus has not been visibly present with us, His followers. Yes, He still speaks to us through the inspired Word of the Bible. Still, we long to meet Him in person, to fall at His feet in worship and praise, to hear His welcoming voice, and to take His pierced hand in our own. It is especially when we are troubled, or grieving over our sins and failures, that such a personal touch from the Lord would be most welcome.
Our Savior knows that our frail human nature benefits from such a personal touch. That is one of the reasons why, before His suffering and death, He made arrangements for a regular “care package” to arrive in a very personal way for
His believers, saying, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me. . . . This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me”
(1 Corinthians 11:24-25).
Ever since that time, Christians have gathered together and received Jesus’ real body and blood, with the bread and wine, as an expression of His personal forgiveness and undying love. Though we cannot yet see or hear Him in person, He regularly sends us His forgiveness, comfort and love—His very self!—in the Sacrament.
Whenever you come to Communion and the pastor says “Take, eat, this is the true body of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and “Take, drink, this is the true blood of our Lord Jesus Christ,” you are to hear these words as though they were spoken by Christ Himself, with the certainty that what you are receiving is, miraculously, the same body and blood which Jesus gave on the cross for your redemption.
Though the devil or even your own conscience would condemn you because of your many sins and failures, in the Lord’s Supper you have personal, positive proof that Jesus forgives you and welcomes you. Here you have the certainty that Jesus will see you through to that time when your eyes will actually see Him, your ears will hear Him, and your mouth will praise Him forever. That’s Jesus’ personal touch—that’s some care package!
Bruce Naumann is associate pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.