Life and the New Covenant
In Matthew 18, Jesus, who is speaking in His parables, says here:
12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14 So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
On the first day of the week, Christians the world over, take time to memorialize our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Many brethren have stood up to help us reflect on many things. The gruesome agony on the cross. The shame that Jesus had to endure of being stripped naked. Being slapped and spat upon. Even publicly mocked. We have learned about the anguish that He felt when He was all alone in that garden of Gethsemane. Where He was fervently praying that this cup, this suffering, this pain, this shame that would eventually pass. We have learned to take this moment to remember that Jesus left the very presence of God. The very glory that He shared. Left His throne in heaven to humble Himself in human form, so that He could come here to fulfill God's work. Where the deaf could hear, the blind could see, and the lane could walk.
And of course, we have learned of His death; that gruesome death of being literally nailed to a cross. And after dying on that cross, rising again after three days. And after all that fear, all that anguish and suffering and pain, all of it was gone. And no longer was He the Suffering Servant, but now He was a conqueror. We learn in in the book of Revelations He was a conqueror over death and Satan.
They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.
And so, as we take these emblems, there is so much that we can reflect upon. And as we focus on those many different things, I can tell you right now I'm still amazed on why God would allow His only begotten Son to suffer on a cross. To suffer in that type of shame. Why, as we read in the scriptures, with God in His long-suffering, set forth a plan that would take generations to fulfill. Despite the disobedience of His chosen people. Of His prophets. Of His anointed. Of His disciples. Of His apostles. Of all of us.
Why would God continue on and sacrifice the innocent Lamb for our very own redemption?
And the simple answer that I could come up with, and we've all learned, is love. It is that same love that we read here in Matthew 18. That He would leave those who have not strayed away to go and seek out those who are lost. Even if it was just one. And I'll tell you even when I say it out loud… even now I cannot even comprehend it. We are so blessed that we have a faithful, a patient, a long-suffering God. One who would cleanse us of our own sins with His own innocent blood. Who would become our mediator on our very own behalf. And Jesus said, “This do in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22.19b)
So, we take part in this bread that represents the body of Christ that was given to each and every one of us. But it also represents and serves as a reminder that Jesus is our life. He is the one by whom we live. Paul says in Galatians:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
So, this is what this bread symbolizes. That He is to be our power by which we obey. So that we too can be tender. That we too can be merciful and courteous. And to love one another. That we don't return evil for evil, but that we pray for those who persecute us and misuse us. His life in us enables us to be what God asks us to be. And so, this bread, which represents His body given to us, it is life.
Following that, Jesus took a cup. And that cup symbolizes the blood that He would shed. Which He said is the blood of a new covenant. A new way for us to live that was made by God. By which that old life that we once had would end. That this cup symbolizes the end of a life and the old life in which we were dependent on ourselves. That we put ourselves as the center of attention. All of that is over. We now agree that we are no longer to live for ourselves. And we do not have the final say in our very own lives. That we will put truth first. That we will know that God will protect us. That we have a promise. An eternal promise. And the price of that promise is His blood. The blood that Jesus shed for each and every one of us. And so therefore when we take that cup, we are publicly proclaiming that we agree that it is a sentence of death upon our old self… our old life. And we believe that the Christian life is the life that we now have through Jesus. That is what this cup represents.
And so yes, these emblems represent the body; represent the blood that was shed for us. But the reminder is that we now have life. We now enjoy a new covenant.
“This do in remembrance of Me.”
One of the more beautifully written scriptures, in my opinion, about Jesus and about His presence, His authority, His power, and His ability to save is found in the gospel of John.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Brethren let us remember the life and the new covenant our God has given us.