The Toast Is Made
Rev. Kurt Lantz Midweek Lent 1 Christian Questions 9-12
March 16, 2022 Resurrection Lutheran Church St. Catharines, ON
As we move on in these Christian Questions we see from Jesus’ own words, how our justification before God is given and received. It comes to us through the person of Jesus Christ, who He is, what He has done, what He has given, and what we receive from Him.
It comes to you in that blessed Passover Supper transformed, which He instituted on the night when all of this was reaching its apex. While He took the cup of the Father’s wrath against the sins of the whole world, He drew a draught of His own blood, raised the cup and made a toast. “Drink of it, all of you; this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
At formal dinners, someone might stand and tap their glass to get the attention of those present, before making a short yet eloquent speech and asking all to join them by raising their glasses and drinking in hearty agreement. Usually it is to laud and praise an honoured guest, whose deeds and character, all agree, are worthy of accolade. At a wedding reception the best man might raise a toast to the bride, or the groom may toast the bridesmaids. At a state dinner the queen ought to receive the first toast and then perhaps some military hero or giving humanitarian.
When Jesus raises His cup, of whom is He speaking and what is saying? After stating clearly what the cup is, which we will consider in more detail next week, He raises His glass to you. At a wedding or a state dinner that might be an honour and an occasion for pride, but what Jesus says about you with His raised cup ought to bring about humility and repentance, not pride.
“this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. I raise my cup to you sinners.” This is not about how beautiful you look or what great deeds you have done for mankind. This is about you sinning against God and your fellow man. This is about you not being worthy of honour. This is about your guilt and shame. This is about your rebellion against a loving heavenly Father whom you despise, and your selfish acts to please yourself at the expense and suffering of others.
And yet, this cup is not raised against you, but for you. It is not to cover over the sins or to outweigh them by drawing attention to some great humanitarian effort. Neither is it to publicly condemn you in a satirical fashion. It is no roast. This cup is raised by Jesus in all seriousness for you, for you and the many sinners, for your forgiveness, your deliverance, your salvation. It is raised full of the blood of Jesus Himself, the God who has blood, who has taken all your sins upon Himself. This is the price He paid for them.
This cup is raised for you so that you might drink of that holy blood of Jesus, and in the forgiveness that He freely gives within, be the pure and holy bride worthy of all the wonderful words that the Lord speaks of His Church, the body of believes justified by His blood.