“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.” (St. John 6:48-50)
The Israelites journeyed in the wilderness for forty years after God had delivered them from their slavery to the Egyptians. They would have soon died in the barren desert, had it not been for God’s miraculous provision of room service. Bread fell straight from heaven. Each morning when they awoke they found a small, round, frost-like substance on the ground. They called it manna. It sustained them until the end of their journey.
As a college student, you are on a unique journey of your own, making your way through an academic wilderness fraught with endless pitfalls and distractions. It is certainly easy to get out of the habit of going to the Divine Service and receiving Christ’s gifts, but yet there is nothing that you could possibly need more during your intense collegiate journey.
Jesus compares Himself to manna and says that it was a sign of His coming. “I am the Bread of Life,” says Jesus. “I am the Living Bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” Jesus, Himself, is the Bread of God, Whom we feed on through faith, which nourishes and sustains us and gives us to share in His eternal life in the Promised Land of heaven. The significance of this miracle goes beyond the earthly bread of that time and place. Ultimately, it is about the Living Bread and His Gifts – for you.
You needed this gift of the Lord’s Supper before college, you will need it after college, and you need it now during college. Luther reminds us in “Christian Questions with their Answers” appendix to the Small Catechism:
But what should you do if you are not aware of this need and have no hunger and thirst for the Sacrament?
To such a person no better advice can be given than this: first, he should touch his body to see if he still has flesh and blood. Then he should believe what the Scriptures say of it in Galatians 5 and Romans 7. Second, he should look around to see whether he is still in the world, and remember that there will be no lack of sin and trouble, as the Scriptures say in John 15-16 and in 1 John 2 and 5. Third, he will certainly have the devil also around him, who with his lying and murdering day and night will let him have no peace, within or without, as the Scriptures picture him in John 8 and 16; 1 Peter 5; Ephesians 6; and 2 Timothy 2.
Are you weary? Worn down? Besieged by your own sinfulness, the world and the assaults of the evil one? Go to the Table in the Wilderness. Receive Jesus. Be refreshed at the rest area He provides for your weary souls on the journey of this Christian life. Jesus provided for the Israelites during their journey; He provides for you on yours too! He gives you Himself in His Supper: His very Body and Blood for the forgiveness of your sins.