A NEW COVENANT
When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table. Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.” He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.”
Luke 22:14-20 NLT
Today around the world Christians will celebrate Maundy Thursday. The word “Maundy” comes from a Latin word meaning “covenant.” The event in today’s reading occurred on Thursday of Holy Week. This event occurred during the celebration of Passover. It was a time when every Jew would pause to remember the miracle of deliverance God worked for the Israelites bringing them out of Egypt. The final plague God brought against Egypt was the death of the firstborn in every house. God gave the children of Israel a plan to protect their homes from the death. They were to take a lamb, cut its throat, collect some of the blood and put it on the doorpost of their homes. Then they were to roast the lamb and eat it as a family. When the angel of death saw the blood, it would pass over that house. Every year the Jews ate the Passover meal with a lamb and flatbread to remember the miracle of God’s deliverance. This night when Jesus sat down to eat the meal with His disciples, He gave a new twist to the celebration. Jesus told them no longer would they look back to the events in Egypt, but from that night forward they would celebrate a new covenant. This new covenant would be marked by the bread and the wine. The bread would take on the meaning of Jesus’ broken body and the wine the shedding of Jesus’ blood. Today we celebrate the new covenant every time we receive communion—the cup being the symbol of Jesus’ blood and the bread the symbol of Jesus’ body. Through His broken body and shed blood we are in right relationship with God. We are free from sin—the control and consequences of sin. Following the meal Jesus will go to the garden to pray. The disciples will fall asleep. Judas will come with a crowd to arrest Jesus. Peter will deny knowing Jesus. All of this is preparation for the crucifixion on Friday. Today we pause to remember the broken body and shed blood of our Lord and Savior. We pause to give thanks for our freedom purchased by His body and blood.
Lord Jesus, I give You thanks that I am a part of Your family because of Your sacrifice for me. You became my Passover Lamb. You have set me free from the control and consequences of sin. Thanks for being my Savior.
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