The Body Of Christ
January 2, 2021 Pastor: Rev. Dean Kavouras
Christ Lutheran Church
January 3, 2020
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras
The Body of Christ
And Solomon arose and went to Gibeon to sacrifice there for it was the Great High Place; and on the altar at Gibeon Solomon offered up a thousand whole-burnt-offerings; and the LORD appeared to Solomon there in a dream by night, and the LORD said to Solomon, "Ask of me what I should give you." …
Then Solomon awoke and Behold! The dream! Then he got up, and went to Jerusalem and stood before the altar that was before the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD in Zion, and offered up whole-burnt-offerings, and performed peace-offerings, and made a Great Banquet for himself, and for all his servants. (1 Kings 3:4-5 & 15 LXX)
At the Lord’s Nativity the world received the greatest gift ever given, the Body of Christ! And it is for this reason that we give Christmas gifts to one another: in imitation of that One Great Gift, God in the Flesh.
He who was predicted by Isaiah when he wrote: “For unto us a child is born; unto us a Son is given!” And hailed in the Gospel According to St. John when he writes: “God so loved the world that he gave his One and Only Son, that whosoever believes in him should nor perish, but have everlasting life.”
Hear those priceless words: “Is born” “Is given” “He gave!” Hear them you who have polluted your body with sin, encrusted your minds with “thick films of vice,” and have imbibed the brittle ideologies of this present age. Hear them and rejoice because God is come in the flesh “to visit and redeem his people.”
Then he came in human form, now under the forms of Bread and Wine, but just as true. Just as “full of grace and truth.”
Today’s Old Testament lesson was assigned as a Christmas reading because it is a prophecy of the Baby that came at Christmas; who at the age of 12 was already making visits to Jerusalem.
Now to teach the teachers that he himself is the fulfillment of every word once written by the prophets.
Later to be arrested for our crimes, stand trial for our injustices, and pay their bloody price in his body on the Tree of the Cross; by which he pardons us Judas’ of our betrayals, us Peters of our denials, and us Barabbas’ of our high crimes & misdemeanors.
Make no mistake about it, Beloved, our Lord suffered searing agony in our place. He endured the Great Tribulation that he himself speaks of in the gospel to set us free. And if the Son whose name is Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace set you free: then you are free indeed!
And so “Look up!” “For golden is the hour” when this Child was Born, when this Son, typified by Solomon, was given!
As Solomon sat on the throne of David, but only for a time, Jesus sits on the Throne of David forever.
As Solomon was but a “child” in need of Divine Wisdom, even so our Lord, too, was a Child. But because he is God, filled with wisdom, he was able to teach Jerusalem’s greatest teachers! And to utterly mystify his parents when they found him after many anguished hours:
“Why were you looking for me,” he asked. “Did you not know that I would be in my Father’s House.” By which the Lord meant: Why search about hear and there? Where else would the Son be BUT in his Father’s House? Tending to his Father’s business. Preparing for a time 21 years in the future when he would again come to Jerusalem to offer the perfect sacrifice of His Body to rid the world of its stifling load of sin!
Solomon offered 1,000 burnt offerings, which is no small thing, but Jesus needed offer only one. One burning sacrifice: his Flesh for the life of the world, and it is enough.
This was not merely one more Middle East peace plan, but the cosmic peace plan, by which the Prince of Peace reconciled the world to its God.
Here is tranquility. Here serenity. Here unmovable confidence. All foreshadowed by Solomon, but in Christ, “one greater than Solomon is here!” (Luke 11:31)
Please note that we say “is here” and not “was here” for we must always believe that Christ is factually among us still, full of grace and truth still, for it is his own Glorious Body and his Very Blood that we receive in THIS Great Banquet.
Now Holy Communion, as every Lutheran knows, is a Sacrament. That is to say a gift instituted by Christ, that transmits Christ’s goodness to us. And so let us all believe it, receive it, rejoice in it, and hear in it, the Lord’s own voice saying to us all:
Lazarus! Come forth!
For this is the Ark of the New Covenant in our Lord’s own blood which according to today’s Psalm is: “sweeter than honey in my mouth.” (Psalm 119:103)
So that for every one of the thousand oxen sacrificed by Solomon the church of Jesus proclaims to God’s people:
The Body of Christ!
The Body of Christ!
The Body of Christ!
The Body of Christ!
Yes, Holy Communion is a Sacrament, but as St. Thomas Aquinas wrote it is also a Sacrifice. Not a rekilling of Christ, hopefully every Christian knows that!
But the “sacrifice of praise” we hear of in Hebrews 13:15.
The “spiritual sacrifice” of which St. Peter writes. (1 Peter 2:5)
And the “living Sacrifice” that St. Paul references in Romans 12:1 whereby we, in with and through Christ, offer our bodies, minds, souls and spirits to our Great God and Father!
Moreover, as often as we elevate the Lord’s Sacred Body, and the Lord’s Blessed Blood at THIS ALTAR we show forth by liturgical gesture that Jesus, in this Sacrament, is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and that all men must come to the Father by him.
And so, Beloved, this day we have come to the Father by the Body of Christ, and we are now home. We are now in heaven. Our warfare is ended, and the Lord has compensated us a thousand-fold for all that we ever lost to sin, and so let us now:
Take eat! The Body of Christ!
Take drink! The Blood of Christ!