This Is My Body (Part 6)
We have been talking about the Lord’s Supper—the meal Jesus gave to the church, in which he shows us in vivid pictures how he sacrificed himself for us. When we take the Lord’s Supper, God is showing us how he gave his Son up for us. We’ve seen how the Supper gives us a picture of Christ’s suffering, as well as a picture of Christ broken on our behalf. This week we look at a third picture that God paints for us in the Supper.
In the Lord’s Supper, we see a picture of Christ’s commitment to us. In Luke 22:20, Jesus says to his disciples,
“This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”
What is a covenant? It is an agreement between two parties (in this case, God and his people) that determines the conditions for that relationship. So when God rescued his people from slavery to Egypt, he made a covenant with them that would dictate how their new relationship would work. He told them, “If you obey my voice, then you will be my treasured possession.”
But here in Luke 22, Jesus says that he is enacting a new covenant with his blood. What is this all about? What is the new covenant, and why do God’s people need it? Jeremiah 31:31-34 gives the answer:
“I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke…. For this is the covenant that I will make…: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people…. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
The reason why God’s people needed a new covenant is because they had broken the old one. The old covenant said, “If you obey my voice, then you’ll be my people.” When the people didn’t obey God, the covenant was broken. The broken people were unable to keep from breaking their covenant with God. So God had to make a new covenant with them—one that couldn’t be broken. And the reason why the new covenant cannot be broken is because it doesn’t depend upon us keeping it. It depends on Jesus keeping it for us and pouring out his blood to cleanse us from all of our sins. The old covenant said, “If you obey, then you’re my people.” The new covenant says, “Because Jesus died for you, you are my people if you trust in him.”
And Jesus’s spilled blood—symbolized by the wine poured into the cup—is the ultimate sign of God’s commitment to us. When Jesus shed his blood for us, it seals the deal on God’s commitment to us in the new covenant. And now, because Jesus opened his veins for us, God can say, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Jesus is able to say, “No one can snatch you from my hands.” All because of his blood.
So when we take the cup during the Lord’s Supper, we should see it as a vivid picture of Christ’s unwavering commitment to us. Every time we take the Supper, God is reminding us that he has offered up his Son so that we could belong to him forever. It is God’s way of saying, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”