by Tony Nester

Taken into a New Covenant
Tony Nester
1 Corinthians 11:23-26

(1 Corinthians 11:23-26 NRSV) "For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, {24} and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." {25} In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." {26} For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes."

Why does God insist on covenants? Why did Jesus die on the cross to form a new covenant? This we need to know before we take the bread and drink the wine of Holy Communion. Communion is a covenant-making event.

Do you remember how you made really big promises to your friends when you were a child? Some of us crossed our hearts and said words like these: "Cross my heart and hope to die / Stick a needle in my eye". It means we were serious about our promise. If we didn't keep our promise we accepted death or having our eyes poked out. We made it clear we meant what we said.

God insists on covenants because God likes clarity. And there is nothing like blood to make things clear. When our enemy draws blood from us it's clear that his or her hostility isn't to be ignored. When a soldier spills his blood it's clear that he or she has made a sacrifice for his or her country. When a patient is hemorrhaging blood it's clear that that patient's life is on the line.

Just hours before his arrest and crucifixion Jesus wanted to provide some clarity for his disciples about what his death would mean. He chose the language of covenant and blood: "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."

These words had an unmistakable meaning to his disciples. There on the table in front ...

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