A good host who’s prepared an unfamiliar meal will explain the meal to the guests––perhaps describing the seasoning used, or the cooking process––and give instructions for the best way to savor the new delicacy.
When Jesus instituted this meal, He gave the disciples both explanation and instruction. Jesus took familiar ingredients––bread and wine––and familiar traditions––the Passover meal––and He expanded them into meaningful bread and wine, and incarnate tradition.
He made the meal more than a mere meal. He turned it into a mystery. But then immediately explained the riddle. The meal wasn’t meant to be a foggy mystery. We weren’t left to guess as to what we do or why we do it. Here’s a meal, we get that. However, this meal does something. Which is what we mean when we call it a sacrament. This meal confirms a covenant.
But Wordless sacrament is just cultic ritual. Sacrament-less word is just philosophical gymnastics. One is like a promise without anything promised, the other is like a costly object dangled in front of us with no way to obtain it.
So Jesus accompanies Sacrament with Word, and Word with Sacrament. He gave us a meal which meant more than a meal, then tells us the greater meaning, and how to enjoy that deeper meaning. The bread and wine is Christ’s body––there’s the explanation. The meal is truly taken by remembering Christ––there’s the instruction as to how we truly relish this covenant feast.
In short, the mystery of this meal is that Jesus gives us Himself, and we receive Him by faith. For in Jesus, the Word is made flesh, the sacrament is made plain. Jesus brings heaven down to earth, and brings man up to God.
So come in faith and welcome to Jesus…