Most every child and parent goes through it. It’s late in the evening, kids are tired out, and they are placed safely into the car seat. Not ten minutes into the ride home they are sound asleep and so very tired that not a thing would wake him. They don’t realize how long it takes to get home. Just simply and soundly asleep. Finally, the car pulls into the driveway. Mom or dad gets out, reaches into the back seat, unbuckles the child, carries her safely up to her room and gently lays her in bed.
It isn’t until the next morning that the child wakes up. The last thing they remember is getting into the car. Now safely in bed, in their own bedroom and home. When they got into the car the previous night, they did so in complete faith of getting safely home. So trusting that they could sleep through an entire car ride. Never knowing how it all happened, but simple faith and trust in mom and dad meant that never doubting about arriving safely home. The kids get out of bed the following day standing in the faith that their parents take care of them, protecting and giving whatever is needed to live every day.
Today we commemorate the first Maundy Thursday when Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it to his disciples. We remember him giving them the New Testament in his blood to drink. More than that, we stand in faith today, as the Lord Jesus gives us his very own body and blood to eat and to drink so that we are forgiven of our sins and strengthened in that very same faith. In his Sermon for Maundy Thursday of 1534, Martin Luther said: “The bread he proffers is his Body, and the cup or wine is his Blood, of the New Testament in his Blood. In childlike faith we should partake, without doubting, and believe it to be so.”
Isn’t that easier said than done? Too often we have the doubting faith of an adult rather than the trusting faith of a child. We look at the wafer (actual bread tonight though) that’s placed into our mouth, we taste the wine that we drink, and we wonder how these things can be filled to the full with the body and blood of Jesus. We experience awful things in our lives and we find it difficult to trust in a Savior we cannot see. Our sin gets in the way of our faith and we trust more in earthly things than we do in the eternal God.
But in the same sermon Luther said this: “Therefore, we should leave God’s Word and work undisputed and ask only who has spoken the Word and who has done the work, whether God or man has spoken it, whether it is God’s or man’s work. If it is God’s Word and work, close your eyes, do not dispute and inquire as to how it comes about, but believe that God is all-omnipotent (all-powerful) and truthful in his words and work.”
Trust like a child that when God says something it is true and he follows through. When he makes a promise it is always fulfilled. When he creates faith he provides the means to strengthen that faith. That’s why God says through the prophet Jeremiah: “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” It is not our own shaky truths that we trust. Our God has placed his Word in our hearts and created in us the faith to completely trust in the Word that comes from his own mouth.
So when he says, “Take and eat; this is my body,” and “Take and drink; this is my blood given and shed for you,” it is the firm and faithful Word of God that puts Jesus’ body and blood into the bread and wine. It is the firm and faithful Word of God that uses that same body and blood to strengthen your faith so that you trust his words when he says, “Your sins are forgiven.”
With your sins forgiven you stand strongly in the faith and proclaim to world the death of Jesus every time you eat and drink his body and blood that were sacrificed for you on the cross. Faith in the heart never fails to come out of the mouth with thanksgiving and praise. After all, faith in the heart is really Jesus in the heart. He’s there to help you, to heal you, to cause you to stand in the faith.
As you come to his table today, come as a child trusting that what Jesus gives in this meal is precisely what he says it is: the New Testament in his blood poured out for you on the cross. Come as a child trusting that this very same blood washes you clean of sin and sinfulness. Come as a child trusting that the Lord’s Supper strengthens your faith to be even more childlike. Come as a child trusting in a life-giving meal that you don’t completely understand. Come as a child with certain faith, never doubting that your Savior will carry you safely to your heavenly home. So whether you are asleep or awake, stand in the faith that Jesus takes care of you, protects you and gives you whatever you need to live the Christian life every day. Amen.