How Can This Be Christ’s Body and Blood?

“How can Jesus give us his body and blood in the Lord’s Supper?” It’s been asked time and again. Usually, what the questioners really mean is “Jesus can’t be giving us his body and blood in the Lord’s Supper—and here’s why.” Then follows a list of reasons. For instance: “That can’t be Jesus’ body and blood because it looks, smells, and tastes like nothing but bread and wine.” Of course, the assumption is that if we can’t see, smell, or taste something, it must   not be there. But that’s just an assumption. Even carbon monoxide can be present though we can’t see, smell, or taste it.

Another person considers, “Jesus can’t give us his body in the Lord’s Supper because his body is at God’s right hand.” True, Jesus’ body is at God’s right hand. But God’s right hand is not a place like your living room or favorite chair. In fact, as Luther said, “God’s right hand is everywhere.” Jesus ascended to God’s right hand so that he could fill the whole universe (Ephesians 4:10). Jesus’ sitting at God’s right hand doesn’t take him away from us at the Lord’s altar. Instead it assures us that he is there.

God’s ways are different and deeper than ours.

Still another person objects, “Jesus’ body can’t be in the Lord’s Supper because the Lord’s Supper is being celebrated all over the world at the same time. How can a human body be in thousands of places at once?” That’s true for your body and mine. But why couldn’t a body that can walk on water, pass through walls, ascend into heaven—and above all, atone for the sin of the world—be wherever it wants to be and do whatever it wants to do?

All these objections are based on questionable ideas about Jesus. They’re also built on the assumption that the truth of Jesus’ words—“This is my body. This is my blood”—has something to do with whether we can under- stand or explain them. But there are so many things we don’t understand. God’s ways are different and deeper than ours.

That’s the reason the Lutheran church’s teaching on the Lord’s Supper doesn’t really “explain” it. We simply believe that what Jesus says is true—whether we can explain it or not. As one Communion hymn says:

Though reason cannot understand,
Yet faith this truth embraces:
Your body, Lord, is ev’rywhere
At once in many places.
I leave to you how this can be;
Your Word alone suffices me;
I trust its truth unfailing. (Christian Worship 312:5)


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