|Photo: V. Nesdoly|
TO CHEW ON: "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." Matthew 26:28
Here we have the story of Jesus starting something new or, better said, revealing the next chapter of God's plan that lay within something old.
He and His disciples were celebrating the Passover meal. This was the symbolic meal the Israelites had celebrated since the night before their exodus from Egypt. It is explained in Exodus 12. There Moses instructed the people how to celebrate it. He also told them to eat it yearly from then on, using the various rituals of preparation and menu items as prompts in retelling the story to their children of how God had spared the life of each family's firstborn child the night the Death Angel visited Egypt.
Jesus and His disciples were eating this Passover meal when Jesus took parts of it—the bread and the wine—and gave them new significance. Of the bread He said, "Take, eat, this is My body." Of the wine, "Drink from it all of you. For this is My blood of the new convenient which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
A sidebar article in my Bible explains the significance of what He was doing:
"Jesus used the occasion of the Passover meal to inaugurate the New Covenant. The symbolism of the Passover meal under the Old Covenant was about to be fully satisfied through Christ's crucifixion. In this historic moment, Jesus transformed the meaning of the elements of the Passover meal into New Covenant thought.
The bread now represented His body, which would be given, and the cup His blood, which would be shed for the forgiveness of sins The holy requirements of God and the Old Covenant were about to be forever satisfied.
A new and living way into the presence and provision of God was being prepared through Christ, the Lamb of God. A new and eternal bond was being established by the blood of Jesus Christ. God was sovereignly inaugurating the new and ultimate covenant" - Charles Simpson - New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1339.
Though a covenant between two people or parties is an agreement by both sides, a God-initiated covenant is solely His idea. We have nothing to bring to it—no bargaining power or clout of any kind. This covenant, to give us life when we deserved death because Someone took our place, is entirely His gift to us.
As we approach Easter, the realization, again, of the hugeness of His gift is reason for nothing but thankfulness and worship.
(Read more about covenant at Rebecca Writes - Theological Term of the Week: "covenant")
PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for this new covenant by which I have life when I deserved death. Help me to respect the Lord's Supper, treating it with the solemnity it has as Your initiative, pledge and seal of undeserved favour. Amen.
MORE: "Come to the Table" by Michael Card
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved