Friday, October 1, 2010
John 18:28 (ESV) They themselves did not enter the governor's headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover.
Our Passover Lamb is acknowledged by us as we recognise our defilement, and seek the forgiveness of sins. The shadow of the Cross cuts across any sense of our ethnic or moral superiority. Instead it shows us as an unholy people who daily need to be washed clean in the blood of the Lamb (Rev 7:13). As we take Communion each week, we make a spiritual record of this need. According to Martin Luther, we go to the Lord's Table because:
we are poor, miserable people. We go exactly because we are unworthy. This is true unless we are talking about someone who desires no grace and Absolution nor intends to change....
If, therefore you are heavy laden and feel your weakness, then go joyfully to this Sacrament and receive refreshment, comfort and strength. If you wait until you are rid of such burdens, so that you might come to the Sacrament pure and worthy, you must stay away forever. In that case Christ pronounces sentence and says, "If you are pure and godly, you have no need of Me, and I, in turn, no need of you." Therefore, the only people who are called unworthy are those who neither feel their weaknesses nor wish to be considered sinners.
(Large Catechism, "The Book of Concord", p. 631, 633)
We go to our Passover meal not on our own merits, as the Pharisees and priests did boasting in their own righteousness and outward expressions of holiness. But on the merits of Christ's body and blood which alone can raise us up to eternal life:
So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever. (John 6: 53-58 ESV)