Wednesday of the 24thWeek After Trinity

Daily Lectionary: Jeremiah 20:1-18; Matthew 24:29-51

Who receives this Sacrament worthily? Fasting and bodily preparation are certainly fine outward training. But that person is truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words, "Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins." But anyone who does not believe these words or doubts them is unworthy and unprepared, for the words, "for you" require all hearts to believe. (Small Catechism: The Sacrament of the Altar, Part 5)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The irony in the Lord's Supper is that those who think they are worthy to receive it are not. Being unworthy is to be worthy to receive Christ's Body and Blood. That is to say, Christ gave Himself into death to save sinners. He rose to free us from death. He gives His Body and Blood to us to eat and drink for the forgiveness of sins. To receive Christ's Body and Blood is to receive a gift with a promise attached: Your sins are forgiven and God will raise you up at the last day.

Worthiness and unworthiness are not about something in us. It's not as if sinning less this past week has made you more worthy to receive Christ's Body and Blood. Rather, "worthiness" means this: "Receive it in faith." "Worthiness" is nothing other than believing that this is indeed the true Body and Blood of Christ, given for sinners, and that you are a sinner.

If we were to say, "I'm not a sinner" or "I'm not that bad of a sinner" or "This isn't really the Body and Blood of Jesus" or "I don't need forgiveness, or at least not a lot of forgiveness," that would be confessing unbelief. Unbelief is expressed by not wanting or caring about what is received in the Supper.

Faith, on the other hand, born of the Spirit's work in us, receives this gift knowing that we don't deserve it and have not earned it. Faith doesn't look for some "worthiness" in how good a person we are. Faith simply says, "Jesus has a gift for me. This gift saves me. Forgives me. Promises me eternal life. Thank you, Jesus. Amen." That is true worthiness: nothing other than believing those words of Jesus, that His Body and Blood are given and shed FOR YOU. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

O grant, most blessed Lord, That earth and hell combined May not about this sacrament Raise doubt within my mind. (Your Table I Approach, LSB 628:5)

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