March 27, 2018

A New Covenant

Jeremiah 31:31-34; Luke 22:7-20

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people. . . .”

—  Jeremiah 31:31

Jesus instructs his disciples to check with a man in the city about a guest room that can be used for celebrating the Passover. They find things “just as Jesus had told them,” and make the Passover preparations there. This is quite a different result from having “no guest room available” on the night Jesus was born (Luke 2:7).

In the large upper room where they have gathered to eat the Passover meal, Jesus tells his disciples that this will be his last supper with them until the kingdom of God comes fully. He then reveals that he will sacrifice his body and pour out his blood. He even invites them to eat with him from a loaf of bread and to share wine from his cup, saying that these represent his body and blood.

Echoing God’s promise through the prophet Jeremiah, Jesus declares that his sacrifice will seal a new covenant, and he asks the disciples to eat and drink in remembrance of him. This new covenant will replace the animal sacrifices that were necessary in the Old Testament, and his death is a sacrifice so strong that anyone who believes that Jesus has given his body and blood for them can depend on him for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

Today, whenever we celebrate this supper in memory of Jesus, we are reminded that God has written his law of love on our hearts and “will remember [our] sins no more.” In remembrance of him, shall we make room in our hearts for Jesus?

Lord Jesus, help me to remember your sacrifice, today and every day, till you come again. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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