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THE NEW COVENANT IN JESUS’ BLOOD

Luke 22:1-22:22
Key Verse: 22:20

Thank and praise God for the great and glorious promise of our Lord Jesus coming again. This is an undeniable teaching of the Bible, and it is noticeable especially in Luke’s gospel. No one but the Lord Jesus could tell of his second coming. He said in Luke 12:40, “You must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him”, and in 17:24, “For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other” and then in 21:27, “At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” After this promise, he said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (21:33). May we personally and absolutely believe in the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in this relativistic generation and live accordingly, being always on the watch and praying and faithfully serving God’s flock of sheep. Today’s passage is about Jesus’ last meal with his disciples at the Passover before his suffering and death on the cross. It excellently teaches the meaning of Jesus’ death, the giving his body and blood.

First, Satan entered Judas (1-6). Look at verses 1 and 2. “Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people.” The Feast of Unleavened Bread was to commemorate the day of God’s delivering the Israelites from 430 years of the bondage f Pharaoh. For this celebration they were to remove the yeast from their houses and to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day of the first month. It is written, “Whoever eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel, whether he is an alien or native-born. East nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread” (Ex 12:14-15, 17-20). As the sacred day was approaching, the religious leaders were doing something against God’s grace, not something to commemorate God’s grace of deliverance. They were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, whom God sent for the deliverance of his people from the bondage of Satan. They were to remove yeast from their houses, not Jesus. Then they became yeast to the people. Jesus said to his disciples in Luke 12:1, “…Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees…”

Look at verse 3. “Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.” Just before beginning his messianic ministry Jesus was tempted by the devil. Jesus overcame the devil’s temptations and won the victory over him. Then it is written in Luke 4:13, “When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him unto an opportune time.” Now here Satan made his appearance again, thinking this was an opportune time. Satan’s aim was to defeat Jesus, the Son of God, and now it was through Judas, one of the Twelve. Satan is invisible but real, and leaves and enters people. Luke’s gospel vividly describes the deeds of Satan. When the seventy-two disciples returned from the evangelistic campaign with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name,” Jesus replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (10:18). And after healing a woman on a Sabbath who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years, Jesus said to the synagogue ruler who was not happy with this healing, “Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” (13:16). Satan binds people. And in Luke 22:31, Jesus said, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you…” Also Satan sifts, especially his disciples.

Satan does not enter just anyone. He enters particularly those who are not clearly about their identity and so leave room for him. Judas was one of Twelve, which was an amazing blessing of God, and heard so many wonderful words of Jesus, but he did not accept even one word of Jesus into his heart. He had the appearance of a disciple, but his heart was different. He was wandering with an uncommitted heart. Satan knew this and without fail entered into him.

Then what did Judas do? Look at verses 4-6. “And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.” Judas became along with religious leaders an agent of Satan who attempted to destroy Jesus through Judas’ betrayal at this time. Satan also purposed to destroy Judas, who later committed suicide in remorse of what he had done. Judas became blind to see the work of Satan and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them.

Our life of faith includes fighting with Satan. Bible tells us to resist Satan. We should learn to resist him before prompting and entering us. James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Also 1 Peter 5:9 says, “Resist him, standing firm in the faith…” And Jesus taught his disciple to pray, “…lead us not into temptation” (Lk 11:4). May we humble ourselves and recognize Satan’s reality and work and resist him, having the words of God in our hearts and praying.

Second, the Last Supper (7-23). Look at verse 7. “Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.” It was customary on that day, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for the Passover lamb to be sacrificed. Obviously Jesus knew this. At the same time Jesus was keenly aware that he would be the Passover lamb the next day, the Lamb of God for the salvation of mankind. That means this would be the last meal with his disciples. We don’t know how Jesus had celebrated the previous two Passovers. However, this time as the last one and special, Jesus needed a certain, spacious place. Also the place had to be kept in secret since his enemies were seeking for an opportunity to arrest and get rid of him when no crowd was present. So what did Jesus do? Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, ‘Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.’” Then not knowing where to go, they asked, “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” At this Jesus replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large upper room (“a large room upstairs with couches spread”), all furnished. Make preparations there.” What a preparation this would be! This would be God’s complete preparation, at no cost to themselves. Jesus showed his transcendental knowledge as he also did when he sent his two disciples to get someone’s colt for his entry into Jerusalem. At the Feast, The city of Jerusalem, as well as its satellite towns, was packed with pilgrims. It was utterly impossible for them to find a room. But they did not raise a single objection. They had awesome respect for Jesus’ word and obeyed. They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. The Passover was prepared through their obedience.

Now let’s see what happened on at the Passover table. Look at verses 14 -16. “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.’” Here we see that Jesus has been eagerly waiting for this hour to eat the last Passover with his disciples before his suffering so that he might teach them the meaning of his death on the cross as the Lamb of God. When Jesus said, “I will not eat it again until it founds fulfillment in the kingdom of God,” humanly speaking it was sad, because it referred to his departure from them in this world, yet Jesus planted hope in them to eat again in the kingdom of God as the result of the fulfillment of God’s promise.

Then in verse 17, “After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and divide (share or pass) it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’” The Jews had four cups in their Passover meal. This might be the first cup after opening prayer, giving thanks to God. They were sharing the same cup of the fruit of the vine. They were one family in Jesus. The cup was from Jesus. They were to drink the cup with the hope of the kingdom of God. Here the coming of the kingdom of God is related to the second coming of Jesus and his reign in the millennium kingdom (Rev 19:7).

Look at verse 19. “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.’” According to Jesus’ word, the broken bread indicates his broken body. Soon his body would be broken on the cross as the Lamb of God. As each of them took and ate a broken piece of the bread, each one were to take and eat the broken body of Jesus. It is to remember his death in thanksgiving to God. When one dies, the person gradually disappears from the memory of people. But not so with the death of Jesus. Jesus said in John 6:51, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” To eat this bread is to put one’s faith in him who gave his body for our everlasting life. All human body is dying body, but Jesus’ body is different. His body is life-giving body. His flesh and body is life-giving and life-sustaining through his death on the cross. This is well expressed in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Apostle Paul ate the bread of Jesus’ body in remembrance of him until he could say, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20). Apostle Peter remembered Jesus and ate his body until he could say of Jesus, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

Look at verse 20. “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.” When Jesus died on the cross, he would shed and spill all his blood. All human blood is sin-stained, corrupt blood. But Jesus’ blood is sinless pure, so the covenant blood, the blood of covenant, more specifically, of new covenant. Here, we can think of old covenant. When Moses received the law from God, he wrote down everything the Lord ad said. 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.” For the old or first covenant animal’s blood was shed and sprinkled on the scroll and all the people (Heb 9:20). However, the problem with the old or first convent (2 Cor 3:14; Heb 8:13) was that the people could not keep the law and thus broke the covenant. Since then God looked forward this new covenant, which also the prophet Jeremiah prophesied (Jer 31:31). The new covenant is to forgive man’s sins and write the law on their hearts (Jer 31:33-34; Heb 8:10,12). Now the new covenant which had been promised would be made in Jesus’ blood. So Jesus said clearly here, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.” And then he said, “…which is poured out for you.”

When Jesus’ body was flogged, his blood oozed out of the stripes on his back and shoulders. When the crown of thorns was put on his head, his forehead was spiked and the blood came out from his sacred head and flowed on his face. When he was nailed to the cross on his hands and feet, crimson blood gushed out of them. When he was hanging on the cross nearly three hours, indeed all his blood was drained out of his whole body. Then in his dehydration he said, “I am thirsty.” Finally, when a Roman soldier pierced his side with a spear to confirm his death, there was a sudden flow of blood and water. In this ways his blood was poured out for you and for me. Not just several drops of blood were shed accidently, but his whole blood was poured out purposely. It is for the forgiveness of sins (Mt 26:28). Then on the cross, he could pray, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” According to Hebrews 9:22, “…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Sin broke life of man and brought death and eternal condemnation into hell. This is the destiny of all mankind with sin, the fundamental problem of man. There is no exception for this. But Jesus’ blood was shed as the price for the sin so that men might be forgiven of those sins and have new life that is eternal with the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in them. So after delivering the message of Jesus’ death and resurrection, Apostle Peter said, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Ac 2:38). We should remember that his blood was poured out for the forgiveness of our sins. His outpoured blood covers all our sins and pardons them and cleanses our hearts. This is none other than his outpouring grace and God’s lavishing love. His blood is enough; his grace is sufficient; God’s love is abounding.

Christian life is to live by faith from first to last. And the core of our faith is to believe in the blood of Jesus, the efficacy of Jesus’ blood in which the new covenant has been made for forgiveness of our sins and cleansing our consciences (Heb 9:14). So our life in Christ is to repent from first to last so that we can live in his grace of forgiveness of our sins and walk by the Spirit and serve the living God. Through constant repentance we can be deepened in our Lord Jesus’ forgiving grace, experiencing the power of Jesus’ blood more and more. Even after receiving Jesus’ grace of forgiveness of our sins, it is so easy to live according to my own desires and humanistic ideas and selfish purpose following to the pattern of this world, not obeying the word of God’s truth. We know that man’s fundamental sin was disobedience to God’s command. As I prepared this message, I could find myself as a relativistic and humanistic sinner. I did not take obedience to God’s command seriously. So I could not teach the words of God clearly as they are to the flock of God’s sheep. Deuteronomy 6:5 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” The risen Jesus said to the church in Laodicea, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Rev 3:15-16). I should know that Jesus hates lukewarm attitude to the point of feeling like vomiting. Since Jesus poured out his blood for us, we can come to him with our sin of lukewarm obedience which is actually disobedience to him, sin of passion and pride, selfishness, jealousy, pleasing people not God, etc. so that our sins may be forgiven at each time. Particularly, when God reveals our sins, we should not make an excuse or hide but confess and repent and continue to live in his grace of forgiveness and go deeper in this grace. We need to get rid of the yeast in our hearts and lives and in the house of God’s community by relying on Jesus’ blood so that we can grow in his holiness.

In verses 21-22, “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.” Nowhere in Scripture do predestination and prophecy cancel human responsibility. It is a dreadful thing to betray his grace. Hebrews 6:4-6 says, “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.” We need to make every effort not to betray the grace of Jesus.

We thank God for Jesus who gave his body and blood for us. Particularly we thank God for the new covenant in his blood, which is poured out for us. May we live as his new covenant people in repentance and obedience to his word and grow deeper in this marvelous grace of our Lord Jesus.

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