Luke 22:14-23 The Passover Lamb and the New Covenant
Luke 22:14-23 The Passover Lamb and the New Covenant
14 When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. 15 And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; 18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20 And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. 21 But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table. 22 For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!”
The Passover meal happened on a Thursday evening when Jesus and the disciples gathered for supper. Here, Jesus instituted the Holy Communion of the New Covenant and instructed His disciples to commemorate His death until He returns. The New Covenant seals and insures the believer’s eternal life and inheritance. Along with the Holy Communion, the believer’s inheritance must be acquired with the New Covenant mentality. In today’s devotion we learn: knowing the doctrine of salvation alone does not save, but there must be repentance towards a New Covenant mentality. The Holy Communion reminds believers to persevere in the assurance of the New Covenant until Jesus returns.
I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer
Jesus expressed His earnest desire to eat the Passover meal with His disciples one last time before He went to the cross. The Passover feast commemorates the deliverance of the people of Israel from Egypt. In the first Passover, a lamb was sacrificed and its blood smeared on the doorposts protecting the children of Israel from the angel of death. This is the blood of the old covenant which protects and preserves the Israelites from annihilation. Thereafter, the people left Egypt in haste as the angel of death slaughtered the first-born male of every Egyptian family. The blood of the lamb smeared on the doorposts is the covenant of protection that caused the angel of death to pass over them.
As Jesus and his disciples gathered to eat the Passover, they looked forward to the coming of the kingdom of God. And He will miss the fellowship of His disciples until the time when God fully establishes His rule through His kingdom in the new heaven and new earth: until the kingdom of God comes.
This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.
This Passover meal was different in that Jesus introduced Himself as the Passover Lamb, and He was to deliver Israel and humanity from the slavery of sin. While breaking the bread that represented the Lamb being slaughtered, Jesus said, “This is my body which is given for you”. Thereafter, Jesus would be arrested and He would no longer be with them. Nevertheless, they must continue to eat the Passover meal in the same manner as He showed them: do this in remembrance of Me. What is the significance of remembering Jesus’s body broken? The breaking of the bread (which represents Jesus’s body) signifies the inevitable suffering of the righteous. Paul said, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” 2 Timothy 3:12. And Hebrews 13:13 instructs believers to bear the suffering and reproach of Christ, “So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.”
That said, “do this in remembrance of Me” also signifies the remembering of the needy. By consuming the bread, the disciples are to remember those who are hungry, thirsty, naked, homeless, sick and imprisoned and to identify with them. In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus described the day of judgment where He will say to the righteous, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”
The Passover meal is to become an aid to faith, that despite dire persecutions, believers will overcome the world and help others overcome. Even as the war over sin and death is juridically won, but the time for the complete destruction of evil has not yet arrived. Hence, believers must continue to keep vigilant, to fight the battle until the kingdom of God comes, where Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire forever.
This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood
While the bread signifies Christ’s broken body, the content of the cup which is poured out symbolises the blood of the new covenant. Christ’s blood seals the new covenant andsanctifies the hearts of believers of evil motives and intentions. It is through Christ’s blood of the new covenant that sanctification for believers which results in eternal life is now possible. The blood of the old covenant protected the Israelites from the angel of death, but it cannot not turn them away from evil and eternal destruction.
The blood of the new covenant was shed to regenerate the hearts of believers to love God and to serve others out of goodwill. The blood of the new covenant secures for believers their eternal inheritance. It also restores to believers their authority to rule creation with Christ forever. In partaking the cup, believers are reminded of the promise of eventual victory against the devil. The new covenant of the blood benefits humanity in three ways:
a. The cleansing of the believer’s conscience to serve and love God perfectly
The Old Covenant: the temple, its sacrifices, its priesthood function merely as a cover for sins committed. It averts God’s wrath and immediate judgment from the people. But the blood of the perfect Lamb not only forgives the debt of sin, it cleanses the sinful nature of man. The author of Hebrews compares the sacrifices of the Old and New Covenant.
For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Hebrews 9:13-14
The ultimate goal (of the New Covenant) is not to avert the wrath of God but to regenerate the heart of man hardened by sin. While the cleansing of the flesh by animal sacrifices covers man’s sinful nature or conscience, it does not remove it. The blood of Christ in the New Covenant is effective in cleansing man’s conscience to live for God (cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God). In the process of cleansing, man’s sinful nature is removed by the regeneration by the blood through the Spirit resulting in Christ-likeness.
b. The promise of eternal inheritance
In the Old Covenant, God promised Israel blessings of rain at the appropriate time; victory in battle; freedom from sickness; a fear of Israel among other nations; such tremendous prosperity that Israel would lend to other nations, and not borrow (Leviticus 26:3-13; Deuteronomy 7:12-15; 28:1-14). These promises, amazing they may be are limited to their physical existence on earth. There are no provisions under the Old Covenant for an eternal inheritance in heaven. Through the New Covenant mediated by Christ’s sacrifice, man may avoid eternal condemnation and receive the promise of the eternal inheritance,
For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. Hebrews 9:15
The Passover reminds believers to stay sharp and vigilant while looking to eventual victory over evil.
Jesus instructed the disciples to remember His death periodically through the Passover meal (or Holy Communion). What purpose does Jesus have for this remembrance? The bread (which symbolises Christ broken body) proclaims the reality of suffering in the confrontation between good and evil. Believers when faced with tribulations, may suffer for their righteous decisions. Believers are also reminded to stay sharp and vigilant in the Spirit, and not be taken in by the deception of the devil. Nevertheless, the blood of the covenant will see to the eventual destruction of the devil and victory for the saints (see John 16:33, Revelation 12:11, 20:10).
Some believers think that since Christ has already finished the work on the cross and won the war against the devil, there is no more fighting to do on their part. Thus, they let their guard down and avert their eyes from the battles that are still raging before them. These churchgoers confess Christ’s victory while ignoring the call for godliness. And they do not participate in the fight to win souls and establish God’s rule on earth. The anti-Christ does not attempt to deny the power of the blood to forgive sins, but he endeavours to draw churchgoers away from God by the lust of the world and pride of life (see 1 John 2:15-19). By proclaiming the irrevocable power of the blood to forgive sins, the anti-Christ deceived many causing them to lose their salvation.
Christ’s betrayal by one of His twelve disciples attests to the fact that there will be continual bloodshed in Christ’s camp: But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table. By remembering Christ’s betrayal and His death, and we become vigilant in staying sharp in the Spirit and not to be taken in by the devil.
The New Covenant mentality requires a radical change of mindset towards Christ-likeness
Jesus has ushered in a new mentality which the Jews themselves could not comprehend. This new mentality comes through the cleansing of the Holy Spirit made available by the blood of the New Covenant. This cleansing releases believers from the bondage of sin in their pursuit of Christ-likeness. Therefore, many will experience sanctification that is not possible in the days of the Old Covenant. The New Covenant causes one to divert their love from money to God believing that God will never leave or forsake them. Thus, believers of the New Covenant are able to release their earthly possessions in exchange for an eternal inheritance. The New Covenant also enlarges one’s vision from a territorial mentality towards a kingdom mentality.
Many churches proclaim the New Covenant message but not the New Covenant mentality. They preach the irrevocable forgiveness of sins brought by the blood but without the vision and desire for Christ-likeness. Hence, many pursue their fleshly desires recklessly supposing their names are forever sealed in the book of life. The below summarises the differences in the Old and New Covenant mentalities. Israel, under the Old Covenant, failed to obtain it. But the church under the New Covenant prospered in everything they do.
The Old Covenant mentality: Failure
a. Focuses on covering sins and removing of God’s wrath by the blood.
b. Focuses on acquiring earthly possessions, which are temporal.
c. Focuses on building and ruling over one’s own kingdom.
The New Covenant mentality: Prosperity
a. Focuses on regenerating one’s heart towards Christ-likeness by the blood.
b. Focuses on the heavenly inheritance, which is eternal.
c. Focuses on ruling over all creation with Christ.
Most mainstream religions of the world carry to a large extent the Old Covenant mentality. One can be baptised in Jesus’s name and yet harbour the Old Covenant mentality. Therefore, the church must teach the New Covenant mentality together with the doctrine of salvation. Knowing the doctrine of salvation and participating in religious activities cannot save one from eternal condemnation. The Holy Communion serves to remind believers to persevere in the New Covenant until Jesus returns.
Are you prone to wavering between obedience to God and submitting to the lust and glamour of the world? A half-hearted and ill-disciplined mind which is unyielded to God belongs to the Old Covenant mentality. Make a New Covenant with God today by doing the following (see Hebrews 13:1-5,13):
- Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers.
- Remember the prisoners as though in prison with them.
- Marriage is to be held in honour among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled.
- Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have.
- Suffer with Christ by upholding His kingdom’s values in your family, workplace and community.
Dear Lord, every time I partake in the Holy Communion, I remember your body broken for me and your blood shed for me. The bread reminds me to be vigilant in the on-going struggles of life. The cup symbolises the covenant that insures my prosperity and dominion over all things. I put on the New Covenant mentality which is Christ in me, the hope of glory. In Christ, I am guaranteed a glorious reward and eternal inheritance as long as I walk with Him. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.