Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Words of Institution

I am currently reading Luther's Confession Concerning Christ's Supper.

One of the things that strikes me is the fact that Luther continuously and constantly returns to the Words of Institution to make his case.

He always points to the plain simple meaning of the text. Thus when Jesus Christ says "This is my body" the burden of proof lies with the person who declares that what Christ said must be otherwise understood.

It is no wonder why then in the small catechism he relies on the Words of Institution for promise and blessing in the Supper. As he says
It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the bread and wine, for us Christians to eat and to drink, instituted by Christ Himself.

And further speaks,
[The benefit of eating and drinking] is shown us in these words: Given, and shed for you, for the remission of sins; namely, that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.
What a gift and a blessing that our Lord has so simply and plainly laid out for us such wonderful Words of promise that even a Kindergartner of 1st grader can understand what Christ says when He speaks the Word of Institution.

Feel free to read again Christ's Word in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and St. Paul.

Luther's work here in Confession Concerning Christ's Supper is truly one of Luther's more excellent writings, to the extent that you'll find portions of it in The Formula of Concord concerning the person of Christ.

O Lord, we praise Thee, bless Thee, and adore Thee,
In thanksgiving bow before Thee.
Thou with Thy body and Thy blood didst nourish
Our weak souls that they may flourish.
O Lord, have mercy!
May Thy body, Lord, born of Mary
That our sins and sorrow did carry,
And Thy blood for us plead in all trial, fear and need:
O Lord, have mercy!

+Kyrie Eleison+