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26 (A)Now as they were eating,
Jesus took bread, and (B)after
blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; (C)this
is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he (D)had
given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for
is my (F)blood
covenant, which is poured out for (G)many
the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again
of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you (I)in
my Father's kingdom.”
Some of you
might be saying, “George, what on earth does this text have to do with human
sexuality? You must have a very creative reading.”
I used this text
as an example of how to approach the Bible. Some people would say that you can
ignore some Christian teaching on sexuality because there are very few biblical
texts which teach on the matter. I would then point out that there are only 4
places in the Bible which teach about Holy Communion – and only a couple of
these texts clearly has Jesus telling His followers to continue the practice
into the future. Yet, virtually every Christian Church throughout history has
practiced the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion.
For a Christian,
if Jesus speaks clearly on a matter once, that should be enough. Part of the
reason why this text today is seen as so important is because of where the
teaching comes and what it accomplishes. Jesus' life is about to come to an
end. Shortly after Jesus speaks these words He will be captured by His enemies
and convicted of blasphemy and handed over to the Romans and given over to
death and whipped and then He will die by crucifixion. In fact, less than 24
hours after Jesus has spoken these words He will have died upon the cross. In
these words from Matthew which I have just read, Jesus gives us the '10,000
feet high' perspective on what is happening. The people involved see fear and
injustice and hiding and pain and death. But Jesus says that what they should
Covenant will be inaugurated.
So details on
the ground confuse, but Jesus is making clear the big picture. In the Old
Testament, covenant renewal ceremonies involved the death of an animal. In the
New Covenant, the covenant itself was to be inaugurated by the death of Jesus
upon the cross.
A Covenant is a
relationship that only God can make. Historically, marriage was seen as a
covenant that God made that one man could enter into with one woman as they
both exchanged vows and consciously entered into this reality that God had
created. In the New Covenant it is a new relationship between God and human
beings that ordinary people like you and I can enter into. Please note that a
covenant is not at all like a contract. In a contract, two or more parties
specify the legal shape and dimensions and dynamics of the contractual
relationship. In a covenant, only God sets the terms and benefits and dynamics.
However, we can enter into this Covenant with God. It was made for us, for our
benefit, not for His.
This might all
seem a bit random. How on earth could something that happened to Jesus be of
benefit to me? How could it include me or cover me? Are not all human beings
We all are
equal, but we do not have the same representative power or weight.
terrorists were to seal off all of the entrances and exits for Wembley stadium
in England while the stadium was full. Imagine that they planted a nuclear
device in the stadium and said that if anyone tried to escape, the bomb would
be detonated. There would be well over 100,000 people inside the stadium who
would die in the blast. Furthermore, the blast would kill very many more around
the stadium. Now if I called up the terrorists and said, “While you are
negotiating with the government, I am willing to be strapped to the bomb IF you
let the authorities clear the stadium and everywhere within the blast zone.”
The terrorists would mock my offer. Why should they surrender hundreds of
thousands of captives for me?
However, if the
Queen of England called them and made the offer to give herself up in exchange
for all of the hostages – the terrorists would accept that offer. In fact, they
would probably think they got the better part of the deal.
follow along as I read verses 57 – 68 in
Chapter 26 of Matthew:
57 (A)Then (B)those
who had seized Jesus led him to (C)Caiaphas
the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered. 58 And
was following him at a distance, as far as (E)the
courtyard of the high priest, and going inside he sat with (F)the
guards to see the end. 59 Now the chief priests and the whole
seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, 60 but
they found none, (H)though
many false witnesses came forward. At last (I)two
came forward 61 and said, “This man said, (J)‘I
am able to (K)destroy
the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.’” 62 And
the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that
these men testify against you?”[b]63 (L)But
Jesus remained silent. (M)And
the high priest said to him, (N)“I
adjure you by (O)the
living God, (P)tell
us if you are (Q)the
Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, (S)“You
have said so. But I tell you, from now on (T)you
will see the Son of Man (U)seated
at the right hand of Power and (V)coming
on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest (W)tore
his robes and said, (X)“He
has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard
his blasphemy. 66 What is your judgement?” They answered, (Y)“He
deserves death.” 67 Then (Z)they
spat in his face (AA)and
him. And some slapped him, 68 saying, “Prophesy to us, you (AC)Christ!
Who is it that struck you?”
Jesus claims to
be the Messiah, God Himself, the Representative Human – this is what he is
convicted of. If He had made these claims and then died like every other human
being has died, then we could ignore His words. But His resurrection vindicates
the truthfulness of His words. Note the “for” language in the Lord's Supper.
His death is 'for' us; it is 'on behalf of us'; it is 'as our representative';
it is as 'our substitute'. If the Queen of England could be a worthy substitute
for several hundred thousand people in Wembley Stadium – how many more could be
represented by God the Son of God, the Messiah from God, the One Whom God
Himself has set to be the Representative human? That is why Jesus' death can be
'for' me. It is why His death can open a new relationship with God.
So, each person
needs to enter this New Covenant as Jesus has told us to – by turning to Him in
repentance and trusting in Him by faith.
is something we take after we have personally entered into the New Covenant
created by Jesus' death upon the Cross. In a sense, we 'renew' this Covenant
every time we take communion.
I need to
develop a habit of thankfulness for Jesus' atoning death. Holy Communion helps
I need to
re-commit to Jesus and 'renew' the New Covenant by being part of a local church
and entering into Holy Communion.
I need to play
my part in proclaiming the good news of Jesus Messiah and His death which opens
up the possibility of entering into a new covenant with God.
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the above broadcast, click on the following link: