Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Apr 24 2013 - Luke 22:14-34 – The new covenant in my blood

Our reading this morning focuses on the Last Supper which Jesus ate with his disciples before his betrayal, trial and crucifixion. It was a Passover meal and Jesus had longed to eat it with his disciples. In that meal they would remember together how God had saved their ancestors from slavery in Egypt. He had come down to rescue them; come down in judgment upon the Egyptians. And in that terrible night, they had been saved by the blood of the lamb. The blood of the slaughtered lamb had been painted round their doors and God had passed over them. There was a death in every house in Egypt that night: in the Egyptian households the death of the firstborn; in the Israelite households the death of a lamb.

Jesus took the elements of that Passover meal and showed how they receive a new focus in what he was about to do for them. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one through whose shed blood we are kept safe from the wrath of God. He is God come down to set us free. He is the one who calls us to follow him into the inheritance which God has for his people.

And so, in the paradox of this Last Supper, Jesus gives his disciples a simple means of remembering all that he has done for us through eating bread and drinking wine together. The slaughtered lamb has gone, to be replaced by the simple, daily bread. No further sacrifice is necessary; the work is finished. But the bread is to be a continual reminder of his body given for us – given to torment and death. The wine is to be the reminder of his blood poured out for us, that we might be forgiven.

When Jesus took the cup of wine at the end of that Passover meal, Luke records that Jesus said, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you" (Luke 22:20). These words are wonderfully rich. Jesus speaks of the new covenant. It is more than a repetition of Passover, Exodus and Sinai for it surpasses all that has gone before. All that had been promised in the pages of the Hebrew Scriptures was now about to be fulfilled. God was about to make a new covenant with his people: a covenant which would never be broken; a covenant marked by the pouring out of his Spirit into the hearts of his people to lead them into obedience to him. All of this is about to be accomplished through the death of the Lord Jesus; through the pouring out of his blood.

A covenant is a solemn and binding agreement. Jesus' death – his shed blood – is the means by which God binds himself to us and by which we are bound to him with an indissoluble bond; it is the blood of the covenant. We who once were far off have been brought near; reconciled to God. We who were once not a people have become the people of God – family.

Thank You, Jesus, thank You, Jesus
Thank You, Lord, for loving me
Thank You, Jesus, thank You, Jesus
Thank You, Lord, for loving me

You went to Calvary
And there You died for me
Thank You, Lord, for loving me
You went to Calvary
And there You died for me
Thank You, Lord, for loving me

You rose up from the grave
To me new life You gave
Thank You, Lord, for loving me
You rose up from the grave
To me new life You gave
Thank You, Lord, for loving me

Peter Misselbrook