As Doctor Luther says, “The Gospel is not Christ.” The Gospel is the proclamation of Christ. The proclamation of Christ is the proclamation of the cross, the proclamation of the cross for you. Thus the delivery of the cross and with it all that was there achieved for you that day long ago. We are not back there. Nor need we attempt to get back there with some sort of getting contemporary with it.
Our Lord is not back there today, but here, where He is having His words spoken, the words that deliver Him. Doctor Luther said if you want your sins forgiven, don’t go to Calvary. There forgiveness was won for you, but there it is not given out. You go to the Lord’s Supper. There forgiveness is not won for you, but there it is given out. The Lord’s Supper has always a specific place and time. For there to be a delivery to us, it cannot be otherwise. We go on only as we are located at a particular place and time. The Lord has appointed the place and time for the delivery of His gifts, means of grace, externum verbum. And so gifts, that is, from Him to you by way of located words, water, wine, and bread.
Sermon for Holy Cross Day, 1992