Week 3 Day 19
And when it was evening, he came with the twelve. And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
“This is my blood of the covenant.” Powerful words we should dwell on. But first, we should briefly explore a bit of background.
It’s probably not surprising to note that what has become known as “The Last Supper” wasn’t originally called, “The Last Supper.” Jesus didn’t say, “Men, go find a place for our last supper.” Rather, Jesus and the disciples made arrangements to celebrate the Passover seder (a ceremonial dinner that commemorates the Exodus from Egypt), as was their custom.
On that night in Egypt, the blood of unblemished lambs was spread on the doorposts so that the LORD would see it and pass-over it and not harm those inside.
Another part of our background in understanding Jesus’ words involves the word “covenant.” Covenant is a legal term (think of it like a modern-day contract) where a promise is made, and there is a guarantee that the promise will be fulfilled.
The covenant God made with the Hebrews has rich meaning in conveying a divine promise that rests ultimately on the integrity of God, not on human performance. This is significant: God’s covenant is based on the foundation of the divine promises of God, not on our ability to meet a standard. It is God who declares the terms and makes the promises, then also fulfills them.
That night, Jesus changed the significance of the Passover and declared the making of a new covenant in his blood – which He ratified the next day on the cross.
We can and should be confident of this – that God, who made a covenant with his people depends on his performance and fulfillment of the covenant, not ours. Jesus came to fulfill the terms and conditions of an eternal covenant that he initiated and fulfilled by his blood out of his unending love for us.
There’s a reality in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper that goes beyond ceremony.
He is with us every time we worship, every time we gather together, and every time we celebrate his being the new covenant. He invites us to his Table. He invites us to intimacy. He invites us to be nurtured by him and strengthened by him.
Have you made a promise before? What was it? How can you remember God’s covenant when you’re discouraged and rely on him? Describe how your understanding of covenant affects your thoughts on communion.
Lord, I confess I’ve been trying to earn your saving grace by my own efforts. I know I need to remember that my faith in you is all I need.