Worth Dying For

This communion meditation was given at King’s Cross Church (Moscow, ID) on October 30, A.D. 2022.

One central debate during the Reformation was regarding the Lord’s Supper. And this debate was more than a theological food fight. For some men, their disputations ended in their deaths. 

Two of these men were the Oxford Martyrs, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley. You may recall the famous story of how the elderly Latimer turned to his colleague before the flames and said, “Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.”

But did you know that the three charges against these men were all about their teachings on this sacrament before us now? That if they simply recanted their views on this Table, they could have spared their own lives? 

For against the Roman church, Latimer and Ridley taught that while Christ indeed was spiritually present in the Supper, the substance of the bread and wine were not transformed into His physical body and blood. Additionally, they refuted the belief that in the Mass Christ is re-sacrificed or re-offered for our sins by the priest. 

These errors matter because they led to a belief that what happens here in this sacrament is something done outside of us – something merely to be observed – rather than it being a means of grace in which God’s people are participants and receive Christ as spiritual food. Masses were often celebrated privately with just the priest, and when ordinary believers were present they simply adored the elements, only sometimes receiving the bread but never the wine.

And today we may be tempted to think that these are lofty theological matters not worth wrestling over, let alone dying for. But this is not the case. Our Protestant fathers laid down their lives to reform and secure this sacrament for the glory of God and the good of His people.

And so with reverent joy and thankful hearts, come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ. 

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