Saturday, March 13, 2010

The New Covenant - Jesus Christ

"I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles (Isaiah 42:6; 49:8).
This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you (Luke 22:20)."
"As for me, this is my covenant with them, says the LORD. My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever, says the LORD." (Isaiah 59:21)
The connection between Jesus Christ and the new covenant is made explicit in the passage that began: "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of me" (1 Cor 11.25). The mention of a covenant ratified by his blood recalls the covenant that is sealed by blood in Exodus 24.6-8, and identifies Jesus' death as an act of covenant renewal (cf. Is 53.12, "He poured out his soul to death...yet he bore the sin of many"; and Zech 9.11, where the liberation of prisoners is made possible by "the blood of the covenant"). Jesus gives his life for the forfeited life of others. The forgiveness and liberation promised in Jer 31.31 ff. as marks of the new covenant are thereby realized in Jesus: "This cup, poured out for you, is the new covenant sealed by my blood" (Mk 14.24; Lk 22.29).

Through Christ's life, death and resurrection God inaugurates and seals with (God's!) blood the new covenant, which ensures the forgiveness of all sins, secures the final victory over every form of death, and guarantees the coming end-time when all humanity will be reconciled with God, with each other and with creation, and "Christ is all and in all" (Col 3.11).

The Lord's supper is more than a service to remember the person and work of Jesus. Rather, it is an empowering sacrament through which the promise of the real presence of Jesus and his gift of forgiveness are given and sealed as we partake of the bread and cup. Like covenant, therefore, the sacrament is a profound transforming power. But the sacrament is even more than that. It is also profound in that through the bread and cup Jesus Christ empowers and calls the covenant community (church) to his work of justice, peace and a renewed creation against the powers of this present dark age (Eph 6.12).

It is us who benefit from this covenant. Christ did not just come for the people of his own time. He came for all of us here and now. Jesus is the Law of God inscribed in our hearts by The Holy Spirit and so he is the stone the builders rejected (Matt 21:42). Though Moses gave them ten commandments, Jesus gave us just two commandment, to love God and to love one another. Sometimes we tend to forget that second commandment. "As I have loved you, so you must love one another (John 13:34; 15:12,17)". This commandment we are to receive by faith, knowing that he watches over his word to perform it, and so we fulfill the whole Law and therby we must be the fruit of that love, by being love for God and for all that God loves. Love knows all the pressing needs in God's house and Love also knows the neighbor down the street who just lost his job. Jesus Christ is everything in this glorious New Covenant : "I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles (Isaiah 42:6; 49:8).

Peace and Love,

"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

No comments:

Post a Comment