Pastor's Desk - Sep 2013

Cup of the New Covenant

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Greetings in the name of the LORD, who called us by His grace!

“You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a people belonging to God.”  When a person is born again, he is born of God; born into God’s family and has received the right to be called a child of God. God has adopted him and he has become a new creation in Christ Jesus.  God has also established a covenant relationship between Himself and His people. God had in the past made covenants with Abraham, David and also with the Nation of Israel, which have culminated in the New Covenant which God promised through the Prophet Jeremiah.

We are a New Covenant people and God is the one who has initiated the covenant. He has set the terms of the covenant and we need to meet His terms. The new covenant relationship is established solely through the grace of God.  We are called to respond to His grace and to trust in His promises and demonstrate our trust by obeying Him.

We, by virtue of being born of God, have become a part of His body, the Church.  It is His command that as often as we meet, we remember the covenant at the table of our Lord.  We obey the Lord when we together break the bread and drink from the cup.  Jesus says “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” (Luke 22:20)  Understand the significance of these words of Jesus.

What does our drinking of the cup mean to our relationship with God?  When Jesus says “this cup is the new covenant in my blood” He is not talking about the cup itself, but what the cup contains. The contents of the cup are important because it symbolically represents His blood.

The Bible often uses the word cup in a figurative sense.  Psalm 16:5 “LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.” It is God who decides what is in the cup of our life or what we will experience. All will drink from the cup which God sets before them.

Psalm 75:8 “In the hand of the LORD is a cup full of foaming wine mixed with spices; he pours it out, and all the wicked of the earth drink it down to its very dregs.”

Isaiah 51:17 “Awake, awake! Rise up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the LORD the cup of his wrath, you who have drained to its dregs the goblet that makes men stagger.”

Revelations 16:19 “The great city split into three parts and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath.”

Here the Bible talks about the cup of God’s wrath. We see that the cup of God’s wrath is poured out on the wicked and the disobedient, who reject God and His plan. They will all drink from this cup.

We see Jesus mentions about another cup in relation to himself. John 18:11 Jesus asks Peter, “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” Again, Matthew 26:39 – “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

The cup which God had set before Christ contained rejection, separation, suffering and death.  We are not asked to drink that cup, but to remember it when we partake of the table of the Lord.

At the communion, Jesus Christ invites us to drink the “cup of the New Covenant in His blood.”  The cup symbolically contains the blood of the sacrifice by which He enabled us to be in a renewed relationship with God. It contains the means by which we again are seen as children rather than enemies of God; the blood that purchased us the right to become the Children of God.

Hebrews 9:22 says that “without shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins.” Unless Christ had shed His blood there would be no relationship between us and God. The cup represents God’s promise that He had His Son die on the cross and that now we have restored the broken relationship with Him. When we drink of this cup we drink and take in the covenant of God.

In the Old Testament, blood was sprinkled on the people. Exodus 24:7-8 – “Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, ‘We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey.’ Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, ‘This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.” The sprinkling of the blood under the old covenant ratified the relationship.

But under the new covenant, God has not commanded us the external act of sprinkling but receiving it internally, by drinking it.  When we drink of the cup we are confirming to God’s terms.

John 6:35 Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”  Eating and drinking here means to believe and to follow Christ.

John 6:53-54 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood; you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life.” It is not just an external or physical act, but coming and believing; this is what partaking of bread and the cup symbolize.  Unless we believe in Christ and trust in Him, we have no part in Him.

The cup contains the promise, and we need to internalize that promise. With all humility we must admit that we need Christ.  We must confess that we could not pay for own sins, but Jesus paid on our behalf. And at the table of the Lord, we remember that finished work of our Saviour on the cross.

And we also have this promise from God; we will eat from the tree of life and we will drink from the river that flows from His throne. Therefore, “I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD.”  Psalm 116:13 Amen!

Praise His Holy Name.

Pastor Jacob

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