Saturday after Misericordias Domini
Scripture: St. John 6:41-59 (NKJV)
6:41 The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 42 And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
43 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”
53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” 59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.
“[T]here are two modes of partaking of the flesh of Christ; the…spiritual, concerning which Christ, John 6:54, especially speaks [note: especially, not solely; while the Lord’s Supper hadn’t been instituted, so those who heard Jesus wouldn’t immediately understand, those who read John’s record decades later would see what the Formula of Concord now details], and which is effected only by the Spirit and by faith, in the preaching and in the meditation on the Gospel…without which spiritual partaking…[the] oral eating in the Lord’s Supper, is not only unprofitable, but also injurious and culpable. But this spiritual eating is nothing else but faith, that is, to hear the Word of God, (in which is offered unto us Christ…with all the blessings which he obtained for us with his body given unto death for us, and with his blood shed for us—namely, the grace of God, remission of sins, righteousness, and eternal life,) to embrace the same with faith…and to support ourselves by it in every time of need and in all temptations.
“The other mode of partaking of the body of Christ is oral or sacramental, when in the Lord’s Supper, the true, essential body and blood of Christ are received and partaken of orally, by all who eat and drink the consecrated bread and wine, in this holy sacrament. Believers receive the body and blood of Christ as a sure pledge and confirmation that their sins are certainly remitted, and that Christ dwells and is efficacious in them; unbelievers, also, receive the body and blood of Christ orally, but to their judgment and condemnation.
“[Thus,]…Christ…requires…spiritual eating, when he further says: ‘This do in remembrance of me;’ for here he demands faith.” (Formula of Concord, Full Declaration, VII:61-65 Henkel trans.)
Lord Jesus, grant that we always eat Your flesh with both mouth and heart, that we receive not injury. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.