Words of Faith 1-18-19
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table.  And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.  For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God."
 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you.  For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."
 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."
 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.  But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table.  The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him."  They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.
Jesus used the occasion of the Last Supper to announce a New Covenant. In the New Testament, there are only two covenants-- the New and the Old. The Old Covenant of law involved outward rituals and institutions. The New Covenant is the covenant of grace. Jesus taught that His men that His death would mean the beginning of this New Covenant. The symbolism about the bread and the fruit of the vine was given to show that Jesus' body and blood were necessary to institute the New Covenant.
This New Covenant was prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31-33. "The time is coming," declares the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares the Lord. "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the Lord. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
The New Covenant is very different from any other. Biblical covenants always involved the shedding of blood, as a sacrifice. The Old Covenant involved humans shedding blood in repeated sacrifices and seeking to obey the Law. The New Covenant is a relationship with God that is spiritual. God provided the final sacrifice in Jesus. We no longer attempt to follow the Law to gain acceptance or salvation. Instead, God lives in us and writes His word and law in our minds and hearts. By the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we live in the right way as we surrender to Him.
Jesus also announced that this was the last Passover He would eat with them until all that it means would find fulfillment in the kingdom of God (22:16, 18). Many events in the Old Testament, including the Passover, pointed toward the ministry of Jesus and the kingdom He was to inaugurate. When His Kingdom would arrive, the Passover would be fulfilled for God would have brought His people safely into their rest.
This language was also reminiscent of the ritual of wedding betrothal. One of the most potent backdrops for this Supper was the wedding customs of Judaism. Every Jew was familiar with these customs. A marriage included several stages:
1) Father selected a bride. In an arrangement with the father of the bride, a price was discussed to be paid to the bride's family.
2) A Contract called a ketubah was drawn up. This included the price for the bride and all that she would bring with her in material goods.
3) Price was paid and sealed with a glass of wine. At the signing of the Ketubah, the groom would say: "I will not drink again from this cup until I come for you."
4) The Groom went to prepare the home. The groom would then go to prepare the house or addition to his father's house.
5) The Groom would return without the bride knowing the time or hour.
When Jesus said He would not drink again from this cup, He declared that He was accepting the price dictated in the Ketubah that was arranged by His Father. He was saying, "I will not drink again from this until our wedding feast." He was saying that we are the Bride of Christ and He is the Bridegroom. He was saying, "I am going to prepare a place for you, I will come and take you."
There is a great deal of meaning attached to the observance of the Lord's Supper. As we partake of the bread, we remember the broken Body of the Messiah, who will return for us. As we take of the cup, we remember His promise that He is returning after He prepares a place for us. We are accepting His offer of betrothal. We are receiving the New Covenant of the Spirit until His coming.
Father, build into me a precious remembrance of the price paid for the New Covenant. In Jesus' name.