Saturday, March 29, 2014

Feeding of the 5000 and the Sacrament of the Altar

The 5000 who were listening to the preaching of Jesus all day grew hungry and faint at the end of the day. Just as Jesus miraculously provided bread and fish to strengthen them for the journey home, so too does our Lord miraculously provide His very body and blood for us in the Sacrament to strengthen us in body and soul for our journey home through this cursed world to Him.


22] … Christ asks me to eat and drink, so that this treasure may be my own and may benefit me as a sure pledge and token. In fact, it is the very same treasure that is appointed for me against my sins, death, and every disaster.

23] On this account it is indeed called a food of souls, which nourishes and strengthens the new man. For by Baptism we are first born anew (John 3:5). But, as we said before, there still remains the old vicious nature of flesh and blood in mankind. There are so many hindrances and temptations of the devil and of the world that we often become weary and faint, and sometimes also stumble (Hebrews 12:3).

24] Therefore, the Sacrament is given as a daily pasture and sustenance, that faith may refresh and strengthen itself (Psalm 23:1-3) so that it will not fall back in such a battle, but become ever stronger and stronger. 25] The new life must be guided so that it continually increases and progresses. 26] But it must suffer much opposition. For the devil is such a furious enemy. When he sees that we oppose him and attack the old man, and that he cannot topple us over by force, he prowls and moves about on all sides (1 Peter 5:8). He tries every trick and does not stop until he finally wears us out, so that we either renounce our faith or throw up our hands and put up our feet, becoming indifferent or impatient. 27] Now to this purpose the comfort of the Sacrament is given when the heart feels that the burden is becoming too heavy, so that it may gain here new power and refreshment.

Condensed quotations from the Lutheran Confessions from Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, copyright 2005, 2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Lord grant you faith in His grace alone
for your salvation unto eternal life.

[Graphic: Giovanni Lanfranco, "Multiplication of the Loaves"]

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