What is the Sacrament of the Altar? It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and to drink. Small Catechism, The Sacrament of the Altar
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The Catechism answer says it all. It cuts through all the arguments and discussions and gets to the heart of what we believe according to Jesus’ words.
What is it? The true body and blood of Christ. Not a symbol, a mere trigger for us to remember or think about Jesus who is far away. It is not simply a ritual. It is not a meal in the usual sense that we eat and drink to get rid of our physical hunger. It is the true body and blood of Jesus. It is so because He says so in His Word.
Where is it? Under the bread and wine. The body and blood of Jesus aren’t “up there” somewhere. They aren’t in our hearts or our imaginations. Jesus is right there where He promised to be, where the bread and wine are that have His Word spoken over them.
Who instituted and gave us this meal? Christ Himself. This isn’t some dude off the street making stuff up! This is the Lord Himself. This is God’s own flesh and blood. This is the Savior of the world telling us what He’s giving us and why: His body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. More than anyone ever, Jesus truly gives what He says He gives.
What’s it for? To eat and drink. Not for parades or keeping it off to the side and saying prayers to it. It’s not for use as a good luck charm. It’s not something for us to ignore and think we’re still Christians. We’re Christians, so we eat and drink Jesus’ body and blood.
And by this gift, Jesus delivers and gives to you what He won for you on the cross: the forgiveness of sins. The Lord’s Supper, the Sacrament of the Altar, is one of the ways in which the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world makes sure you know YOUR sin is taken away. Jesus doesn’t institute this Holy Supper just to see if you’ll do it like He says or to test your obedience or something like that. He gives it because He knows sinners like you and me need it. Simple as that. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
He speaks the Word the bread and wine to bless: “This is My flesh and blood!” He bids us eat and drink with thankfulness This gift of holy food. All human thought must falter — Our God stoops low to heal, Now present on the altar, For us both host and meal! LSB 639:2