Sasse: The Lord’s Supper in the Life of the Church (1939)
… The attempts to understand the Words of Institution as parabolic language and the institution of the Sacrament as a parable in action like the symbolic actions of the prophets mentioned in the Bible, have, however, always led to contradictory solutions. Unless one wishes to imagine that Jesus here wanted to speak darkly in riddles––and no one can impute to that him, especially not in that hour––then the literal understanding is the only remaining alternative. But then also everything is clear. He, the eternal Son of God, who for us took on flesh and blood, the compassionate High Priest, who is at the same time the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, sanctifies himself (Jn 17:19) as the sacrifice for the sins of the world. He celebrates the passover with his disciples and is himself the Passover Lamb. Jesus Christ himself understood his death in this way. He, who is “a priest forever” (Heb 7:17) and at the same time “the lamb, slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:8) offers himself up as the one, eternal, all-sufficient sacrifice. And even as Israel at its redemption from the bondage in Egypt at the passover-lamb and ever against it in remembrance of God’s wondrous deed, so the twelve at the Passover of the New Testament as the representatives of the New Israel (Lk 22:30) and the church repeats this celebration without ceasing “in remembrance of me.” As Israel ate the passover Lamb, so the disciples and so the church eat the Body of him who was crucified. For the Passover Lamb must be eaten. Whoever is offended by that must also be offended by the sacrificial death of Christ. Just as it is a wondrous truth incomprehensible to our reason that we are redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” ( Pt 1:19f.),, even so it was an incomprehensible miracle that we in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper receive the true Body and the true Blood of the Son of God who was offered for us, the crucified body which is at the same time the glorified body. That is the teaching of the Holy Scriptures, a teaching which presupposes that redemption––like creation––has to do with the whole person, body and soul, that the Savior had to take on a true human nature and complete the work of redemption by the sacrifice of his Body and Blood and that the redeemed belong to him body and soul and as members of the church, “baptized into one body” (1 Cor 12:13) and partakers of the one consecrated bread and consecrated cup, which are the communion of Christ’s Body and Blood (1 Cor 10:16f). are members of his body.
Scripture and the Church: Selected Essays of Hermann Sasse
edited by Jeffrey J. Kloha and Ronald R. Feuerhahn