Monday, November 09, 2009

You are Forgiven

In the sermon text today, we have Matthew's record of the institution of the Lord’s Supper, the familiar words that we recall and recite week after week as we seek to be faithful disciples, imitate Jesus our Master. But we should notice that this meal is situation smack dap in the middle of betrayers and deniers. On side of the celebration we have disciples who are indignant that costly perfume has been wasted on Jesus and Judas who is the extreme form of this indignation striking a deal with the authorities to betray Jesus. And there is enough static in the air apparently for there to be great uncertainty about whom Jesus is speaking when says that one will betray Him. Apparently many of the disciples were plausible suspects. Following the celebration of the meal, Jesus plainly says that all of them will stumble. In varying degrees they will all betray Jesus, they will all deny Jesus, they are all Judas’s. And there Jesus is sharing his body broken with his betrayers, sharing the blood of the new covenant with those who will stumble, those who will deny Him. And this original context has held true down through the centuries. Sometimes we may think that if we have struggled with particular sins throughout the week, perhaps we are not worthy, perhaps we ought not to partake. But Jesus knows He is surrounded by betrayers and deniers, and He invites them and shares the meal with them. And He still does, and that is what the grace of this sacrament is all about. The grace of this sacrament is forgiveness enacted. I’ve snapped my children this week; I’ve lusted. I’ve had angry outbursts, I’ve lied, I’ve allowed bitterness and regret to fill my soul. And Jesus says to you, Take eat; this is my body. This is My blood fo the new covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Here Jesus invites sinners to eat and drink with Him. Here He enacts your forgiveness. As surely as there is bread in your mouth and wine on your tongue, you are forgiven. So come, eat, drink, and believe.

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