The Sacrament of Holy Communion
What is Holy Communion?
Holy Communion is the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ given with bread and wine, instituted by Christ himself for us to eat and drink.
Where do the Scriptures say this?
Matthew, Mark, Luke and Paul say: Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the night in which he was betrayed, took bread; and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take, eat, this is my body, which is given for you; this do in remembrance of me.”
After the same manner also he took the cup after supper, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you, and for many, for the remission sins; this do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
What benefits do we receive from this sacrament?
The benefits of this sacrament are pointed out by the words, given and shed for you for the remission of sins. These words assure us that in the sacrament we receive forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.
How can eating and drinking do all this?
It is not eating and drinking that does this, but the words, given and shed for you for the remission of sins. These words, along with eating and drinking, are the main thing in the sacrament. And whoever believes these words has exactly what they say, forgiveness of sins.
When is a person rightly prepared to receive this sacrament?
Fasting and other outward preparations serve a good purpose. However, that person is well prepared and worthy who believes these words, given and shed for you for the remission of sins. But anyone who does not believe these words, or doubts them, is neither prepared nor worthy, for the words for you require simply a believing heart.
Taken from Martin Luther’s Small Catechism