- Name: Rev. Geoffrey A. Wagner
- Occupation: Pastor [LCMS]
- Location: Elizabeth, CO
- Quote: I always recall one from C. S. Lewis: ...[It] is not the remembered but the forgotten past that enslaves us.
- More Info: Read here
In the four months since the site has gone down, I've made some changes to my computer
Yeah, I figure I'd take one of my days off while the temps are still up and reupload all of the famwagner.com files. It took me almost all day, but the sites are back. Some entries are missing, which I expected would happen; I'm not sure I'll be restoring those. I've got some sermons to publish yet, which I'll get to in the next few days—maybe next week. However, we're back, baby.
If you find anything broken (such as resulting in a php error message), please reply to this post.
The prophet Isaiah recorded these words from God: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men...” (Isaiah 29:13) Today, we hear Jesus quote from Isaiah, these words which are full of Him, these words which He is: “This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
The words of Isaiah were fulfilled in the hearing of the Pharisees in today’s Gospel, though they were most certainly true throughout the history of Judah and Israel, and even into today. It centers around the word “tradition,” and all the baggage that it carries.
After putting the topic off, in detail, for the past few weeks, today we can get to the details of the Lord’s Supper, as it pertains to our continuing stroll through John 6.
Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.
Feeding on the flesh of Jesus and drinking His blood is exactly what we do in the Lord’s Supper, as we eat His body and drink His blood under the forms of bread and wine, respectively. And it is because of this, and especially verses 54-56, just quoted, that when we hear Jesus call Himself the Bread of Life and Living Bread, and when He says, “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,” our first instinct as Christians who confess a real presence of Christ in the elements of the Sacrament is that we would hear Him talking about the Sacrament.
What is bread? What image first comes to mind when the word bread is said? Is it the loaf you can find bagged at the back of Walmart. How about the appetizer placed on your table at the restaurant as you look over the menu? It’s the biscuit on which is placed the sausage, egg, and cheese, the bun on which you place your all beef patty, the slices you pile high with tuna, chicken, or egg salad, the roll with which you mop up the last bit of gravy or salad dressing, and the tortilla in which you place your beans, meat, cheese, and salsa. It’s a filler food—white, wheat, multi-grain, gluten free, what have you.
Bread is a staple food; it has long been seen as such. It is given by God, granted to all people alike, be they good or evil, but it is a food for which you have to work, as all First Article gifts are. As the curse pronounced to Adam went, “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread...” (Genesis 3:19a), even as St. Paul wrote, “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10b) Bread is a staple food, but much hard labor is required to obtain and enjoy it.
The people in today’s text are guilty of two errors. These are errors as old as time since the fall; errors which still plague us to this day. Before we get there, though, it serves us well to reiterate the back story.