I Am the Christ
Mark 14:53-65 53 And they led Jesus to the high priest. And all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together. 54 And Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he was sitting with the guards and warming himself at the fire. 55 Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. 56 For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. 57 And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’” 59 Yet even about this their testimony did not agree. 60 And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” 61 But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” 63 And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? 64 You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death. 65 And some began to spit on him and to cover his face and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards received him with blows.
Jesus had just been arrested after the betrayal of one of His disciples: Judas Iscariot. Now how would they justify having Jesus killed legally? They could not just murder Him. This would look bad against the chief priests and the elders and the scribes and ultimately they could be put to death themselves for such actions. This would also be an obvious breaking of the Law that the religious leaders claimed to obey and enforce as judges within the nation of Israel. They had spiritual authority in Israel even though they had been conquered by the Romans. But they did not have the authority to kill anyone. To have someone killed they had to get approval from the Romans. How could they justify having Jesus killed by their own laws and also convince the Romans that this was the right thing to do? Then there was the problem of the people and the crowds that were fascinated by all that Jesus would do including the many miracles. He had recently raised Lazarus from the dead not far from Jerusalem (John 11:38-44) and the people in the city would have heard of this great miracle. Although Jesus had been arrested there were many obstacles that needed to be overcome in order to kill Him.
How can you convince everyone that it is a good thing to kill someone who is perfect? How can you justify by the laws within your country to have someone killed who never broke the law? Jesus never sinned. No matter how the religious leaders tried to trap Him or trick Him Jesus always responded perfectly and He always obeyed God’s Law perfectly. He often corrected the religious leaders in Israel who had misinterpreted the Law showing that He knew the Law perfectly as the author of the Law. So it was unsurprising that as the chief priests and the whole council tried to find anyone who could bring a testimony against Jesus by which they could have Him killed legally, they found none.
The only option to have someone killed who is innocent is to get false witnesses. Many bore false witness against Jesus but their testimony did not agree (verse 56). If these false witnesses did not sound believable and if their testimonies did not agree then it would be obvious to everyone that the religious leaders were just trying to use their positions of authority to have Jesus killed. There is no way that the Romans would accept this argument and the Jewish leaders knew it. What could they do? If they could not come up with an imminent solution even though they had successfully arrested Jesus, the opportunity to have Him killed would slip through their fingers and Jesus would be released and His influence would only increase. When the high priest questioned Jesus about these false witnesses He only remained silent. I can imagine the anxiety rising in the hearts of all those who wanted Jesus killed as they tried and tried to come up with a solution to justify killing Jesus but found none.
But the time had come whereby Jesus would die. His hour was at hand and He would fulfill everything that He had promised God the Father. Jesus was in complete control of even this dark and evil and wicked trial. When questioned again by the high priest, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?,” Jesus replies, “I am.” He declares directly to them, in the hearing of everyone at the council of the judges of Israel, that He is indeed the Christ. Why was this so significant? Because no man can claim to be equal with God. No man can claim to be equal with the Creator Himself. God is sooo far above man, especially man in his sinful condition. But Jesus of Nazareth is indeed equal with God. This is the truth and a truth which cannot be denied especially when anyone examines the Scriptures revealing the life of Jesus Christ as He walked upon this earth in order to pay the penalty for all of our sins. And yet the religious council did deny this. These words were all that they needed to have Jesus killed. They could accuse Jesus of blasphemy and they themselves were the witnesses for the Law says:
Leviticus 24:16 Whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death.
Never before did Jesus answer directly to the crowds who followed Him or to the religious leaders that He was the Christ. He did reveal this to others in secret. Jesus knew that He could be accused of blasphemy and put to death for admitting this directly. He always spoke and acted in a manner that revealed that He is the Christ but never gave an opportunity for the accusation of blasphemy until now. But now He spoke directly to those with the ultimate spiritual authority- the Jerusalem council. This was the last place He should have said this if He did not intend to die. But that, of course, was Jesus’ intent. Jesus gave the council the only means by which they could have Him killed- an admission from His own mouth.
But at the same time, as Jesus directly declared that He is indeed the Christ, He also condemned all those in the council who would not believe in Him. He said, “You will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” This was a statement of judgment speaking of Jesus’ second coming (Mark 13:26). Every unbeliever will see Jesus in all His glory one day but by then it will be too late. They will be eternally condemned when they see Jesus. They will be condemned for denying Him as these religious leaders denied Jesus as the Christ. Can you recognize Jesus as the Christ or do you still deny Him? Can you see how perfectly Jesus responded even in the moments leading up to His death? No one but God in the flesh could act in such an amazing way! Believe in Him!
Pastor Murray Hack
Betrayal With a Kiss
Mark 14:43-52 43 And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.” 45 And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” And he kissed him. 46 And they laid hands on him and seized him. 47 But one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. 48 And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.” 50 And they all left him and fled. 51 And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him, 52 but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.
At the Last Supper much earlier in the evening, Jesus had revealed to the twelve disciples that one of them would betray Him. Jesus wanted each of the disciples to examine their own hearts and to recognize that any one of them was capable of betraying Him if they did not continually seek Him. The Christian life is not a life where we can seek Jesus once or when it is easy or convenient and then live for ourselves. No! It requires a continual seeking and a continual dependence upon God for we are all prone to returning to the evil ways that we all once knew and loved if we do not continually grow in holiness. We must examine Jesus Christ for who He really is and what He has done for us in His death upon the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and to provide a new life for us in Him. We must enter into salvation through repentance and faith but our salvation is also dependent upon our continual pursuit of God.
Judas Iscariot did not pursue Jesus Christ in this way. He was willing to betray the Christ to save his own skin and tried to make the most of a situation where he felt trapped as there was a real threat that he could be killed for following Jesus. Beforehand he had agreed to hand over Jesus to the high priests for money. The boldness of His betrayal is almost beyond comprehension as he gives those with him the sign of a kiss to identify who Jesus of Nazareth is. The darkness within the garden of Gethsemane must have been great such that it was hard to recognize who was who in the dark. Judas Iscariot did not want any mistake or confusion to occur in the darkness as he betrayed Jesus. He could have hid in the background and pointed out from a distance who Jesus was as He was with the eleven in Gethsemane but if the wrong person was arrested what would happen to him? I’m sure Judas Iscariot feared Jesus but also the chief priests who would have come against him if he was unsuccessful. He would betray Jesus to His face as well as in the presence of the eleven disciples. He would never again see them face to face as the devil would then lead him to hang himself (Matthew 27:3-10). His betrayal would ultimately lead to his own destruction and death and this will be nothing compared to the judgment he awaits when he faces Jesus Christ in the final judgment.
Even more surprising is not Judas Iscariot’s betrayal but rather Jesus’ response to His arrest and to the actions of His disciples. It can be so hard to have any empathy or compassion for a known enemy as they stand opposite to the side that you have taken. During times of war it isn’t difficult to be conditioned to fight against the enemy that you cannot see or the enemy who is different from you. Perhaps they speak another language or have a different skin colour. It is easy in a sense to dehumanize someone who doesn’t view things the same as you do and to hate them. But the hatred against someone who betrays you whom you know and trust and whom you would consider your friend is much more intense as it is personal. When Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus with a kiss he not only betrayed Jesus but every single one of the disciples. I do not doubt that every one of the eleven would have killed Judas Iscariot that very night if given the opportunity. It is more than likely that the fisherman Peter, who was not so good at yielding a sword, intended to kill Judas Iscariot and ended up cutting off the ear of the servant of the high priest. It is possible he attacked whomever tried to arrest Jesus but it is also extremely likely that he turned in a rage upon Judas Iscariot. How could he! How could one of Jesus’ closest friends betray Him? Just think of the anger that the eleven disciples felt against Judas Iscariot.
But Jesus did not permit any of His disciples to respond to His arrest in violence. He in fact performed His final miracle of healing to one of His enemies- the servant who had just lost his ear because of Peter’s lack of swordsmanship (Luke 22:51). Without the ability to respond in violence the disciples did not know how to respond and so they fled. If only they had prayed as Jesus had commanded them to do earlier. They still did not understand spiritual warfare. Why did Jesus not defend Himself? Ultimately because, as He said, the Scriptures must be fulfilled. Everything He did was in obedience to the Father but also to fulfill what had been prophesied about Him by the Old Testament prophets. He must go to the cross. His time had come.
But more specifically with the enemies who came to arrest Jesus, Jesus wanted them yet to be saved. God allows evil to be carried out upon this earth to reveal the wickedness in the hearts of those who carry out those evil actions. Any time someone does evil the condition of their heart is exposed. Any person can be convinced that they are good and others are evil (the enemies are only those on the other side of the battlefield) but when you see with your own eyes the wicked deeds of your own hands you cannot deny the depravity of your own soul. Your own actions condemn you. They reveal that you are guilty in the sight of God. They reveal that you need a Savior- someone else to provide for your salvation. Your wicked deeds should lead you to Jesus Christ. And, if they do not God will be just in the final judgment to condemn you forever. Every person who was involved in the arrest of Jesus of Nazareth should have known that what they were a part of was wrong and evil. If Jesus had responded in violence they could have justified their actions. His lack of defense proved their guilt in the sight of God.
Jesus Christ did not see those who came to arrest Him as His enemies. He viewed them as lost souls blinded by the devil and unaware of the judgment that they were already under apart from repentance and faith in Him. I would not be surprised if at least one of the men who came to arrest Jesus is now in the Kingdom of God because of the way in which Jesus responded. The true Christian does not see his enemies as the world does. The true Christian sees their enemies as Jesus does and responds with the love of God even in the face of evil. Is this you?
Pastor Murray Hack
Mark 14:32-42 32 And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. 34 And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” 35 And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 37 And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. 41 And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”
On the night before Jesus’ crucifixion, He led His disciples to the olive garden at Gethsemane where they would often go at night. This was the place where Jesus would be betrayed for Judas Iscariot had already left to gather a group of men to arrest Jesus. But before this would happen Jesus had to pass one final test- a proof of the full devotion of the Son of God to the Father. He had to settle things once and for all as the Christ who was to die for you and for me. God cannot die but when the Son of God entered into creation and became the God-man, He could die as He was now fully God and fully man. Why did Jesus have to die? Because as it is stated in Romans 6:23: the wages of sin is death. Upon the cross, Jesus was about to become sin and yet He had never known sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). As our sins were to be placed upon His body as He died upon the cross, Jesus Christ would suffer death as the penalty for our sin. And in turn, through the Covenant of Grace entered into by faith, we can receive His righteousness:
2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
In Gethsemane, on the night before Jesus’ crucifixion, He had to come to terms with becoming sin and dying which meant being separated from His Father. He had never known sin. We sin daily and by nature love to sin. It is only as we are born again by the Spirit of God that we really fight against sin. But not so with Jesus Christ. He entered into creation in the likeness of sinful flesh (Romans 8:3) but without sin. He was perfectly obedient to His Father for over 33 years as He walked upon this earth. And now, as He would go to the cross He would taste the sins of all of mankind throughout all of human history. Only God in the flesh could do such a thing. Can you imagine? To go from living a perfect life to knowing and becoming sin? To taste every single wicked thought and action that you and I have done but not just for us but all of mankind throughout all of history and the sins of mankind yet to come? It is unfathomable the shock this must have been to His soul and His spirit. The magnitude of what Jesus was facing here in Gethsemane is beyond our comprehension! It is no wonder that Jesus’ sweat became drops of blood as He wrestled with the magnitude of what He was about to do (Luke 22:44). As Jesus prayed He was not trying to escape the cross but to fully submit to it. Everything in His earthly life and ministry was to lead Him to the cross and He did not run from it but ran towards it. But because becoming sin was so repulsive to Jesus and as a result of Him becoming the sin bearer He would have to suffer the wrath of His Father and be separated from His Father for the first time in all of eternity as He died upon the cross, Jesus wrestling here in Gethsemane with what He was about to do only further demonstrates His absolute perfection. He loved the Father so much that He did not want to be separated from Him. He hated sin so much that He did not want to become sin. And yet for you and for me He did it. How amazing is the love of Jesus Christ for you and for me! How could He show such great love for such wretched sinners like you and like me? And yet how could anyone reject Him for what He has done? Truly those who reject Jesus Christ deserve to be punished eternally for rejecting such amazing love!
But what were the disciples going through at this point? Jesus brings Peter, James, and John near Him as He faces this final test before He is arrested. He asks them to watch and pray. Why? So that they will not enter into temptation (verse 38). And yet they fall asleep. Three times! Jesus was facing the greatest struggle that He had ever faced and the disciples slept and yet they had thought that they were ready to rule in His Kingdom! They demonstrated their weakness and their lack of understanding. Why did they fall asleep? We find the answer in Luke’s account of these events:
Luke 22:45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow.
Sorrow and grief cause unexpected behavior. And the disciples had much to be sorrowful about at this point. Being asked to pray in the darkness of Gethsemane on the verge of Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion is not where the disciples had expected to be at this point. They had expected to soon rule in Jesus’ Kingdom after He had conquered all of His enemies. But their ideas of what the Christ would do were far from the truth. They had followed Jesus to this place of darkness of which they too tasted personally. They had just been told at the Last Supper that one of them would betray Jesus. They had just come to the realization that Jesus would indeed die which they had continually denied when He told them before. The weight of sorrow and confusion that they felt must have been overwhelming. Their minds must have been spinning and what would they pray for in such a state of mind? They did not understand what Jesus was going through. They did not understand how even one of them could betray Jesus. They did not understand why Jesus would die. They did not understand what would happen to them when Jesus died. Would they too be killed? How could this be the end result of following the Savior not only of Israel but all of mankind? They had no hope at this point. The only stability they had was that Jesus was still with them telling them what to do. And so they found rest in the only escape they knew of in that moment- sleep. The weight of what they felt did not lead them to prayer but to sleep. What a contrast with Jesus who in His prayers found victory in His desire to submit in every way to what was required of Him as the Christ and the Saviour of mankind. All hope was not lost for the disciples. God would preserve them and yet restore them. And there is hope for you and for me in Jesus Christ! Do you believe in Him with all your heart? Do you understand?
Pastor Murray Hack
I Will Not Deny You
Mark 14:26-31 26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 27 And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ 28 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 29 Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” 30 And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” 31 But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.
If only the disciples knew where Jesus was leading them to would they have been so ready to follow Him over three years earlier? Every person who is willing to surrender their life to Jesus Christ and to follow Him for the rest of their lives must count the cost. There is a sacrifice required but rarely do we know what this cost will actually mean to us personally. This is by design. It is not that God is trying to trick us who enter into the covenant of grace but there are trials and sacrifices that He will lead us into in the future that if we knew what they were we in all likelihood would run from them instead of running to them. What a difference with the Lord Jesus Christ. Even before entering into creation as a man, the Son of God knew full well what was required of Him. And as the time approached for Him to die for our sins, He did not run from the cross but rather set His face towards it:
Luke 9:51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.
Not so with the disciples. On the night before Jesus’ crucifixion the disciples were reluctant followers. As the events were unfolding this was not what they had expected. Jesus, as the Christ, was supposed to defeat His enemies and rule from Israel from Jerusalem. The disciples were supposed to rule with Him and they fought amongst themselves who might have the greatest place of honor in Jesus’ Kingdom. In spite of the fact that Jesus had told them multiple times before that He would be killed they could not believe this. It did not fit their preconceived ideas of the Christ who was to come and save them.
But, in spite of not believing that Jesus would die, they did fear that they might die. As the religious leaders in Jerusalem became more hostile against Jesus, the disciples had no interest in going anywhere near Jerusalem. They would prefer to stay in Galilee where Jesus had performed most of His public ministry over these three years. As Lazarus had died in Bethany, just outside of Jerusalem, the disciples had no interest in going to see him or his sisters. Jesus had intended to raise Lazarus from the dead foreshadowing His own resurrection and so He took the disciples with Him to Bethany. Thomas replies showing the fear that the disciples had that they might be killed for following Jesus. But Thomas’ statement wasn’t a statement of loyalty to Jesus but rather of pessimistic fear. This fear likely played a major reason as to why Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus.
John 11:16 So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
Still, as they continued to follow Jesus to Jerusalem in the days leading up to His crucifixion, the disciples had been safe. The week had started off great. Jesus had permitted the people to worship Him as the Christ as He entered into the city on a donkey’s colt (Mark 11:1-10). He had cleared the Temple again showing His authority over all the religious leaders (Luke 19:45-47). He had defeated the religious leaders in a war of words in the Temple (Mark 12). But then things went in a direction that the disciples had not anticipated. Jesus prophecies the destruction of Jerusalem (Mark 13) signifying that He was not going to rule from Jerusalem any time soon. Jesus is anointed for His burial (Mark 14:3-9). And then Jesus reveals at the last supper that one of the twelve disciples will betray Him to death. The disciples could no longer deny that Jesus was going to die and so Peter makes the statement in verse 31, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.
On the surface this statement seems like a sign of great bravery. All of the eleven disciples were willing to die if Jesus was going to die (Judas Iscariot had already left to bring the soldiers to arrest Jesus). But Jesus did not say that they were going to die. He said that they would be scattered. But not according to Peter. Peter and the ten other disciples agreed that if Jesus would die, then they too would die. They all claimed to have a strong faith in Jesus Christ which in reality they did not yet have. They were still weak and yet claimed to be strong. That very night they all indeed would flee Jesus and Peter himself would deny even knowing Jesus.
Why were the disciples so weak in spite of claiming to be so strong? Fundamentally we can see their weakness in comparison to the strength of Jesus Christ. Jesus went willingly to the cross. At this point the disciples had been forced to go with Jesus towards the cross and they were reluctant and unwilling in their hearts and souls. The disciples had just that night, the very night before Jesus’ crucifixion, finally understood that Jesus would physically die. Their theology and their understanding of God’s plan of salvation was very faulty and incorrect. They could not stand on the rock of their salvation because they didn’t understand what God was about to do. Jesus on the other hand knew perfectly what was required of Him. He, also as the Son of God in the God-man, could complete what was necessary for our salvation where any other man would fail. The disciples still had many sinful tendencies in spite of being true followers of Jesus Christ. They tended to compete with each other instead of doing all things to the glory of God and His Kingdom. Jesus always reflected the glory of God and the will of His Father. The disciples still were afraid to die for Jesus Christ in spite of their claims otherwise. Their eternal reward in heaven was not at the forefront of their minds and they were still looking for glory here on earth. All of these factors and more contributed to the weakness seen in the disciples. But Jesus would not abandon them after their failure. Rather He intended to use the events surrounding His own death to lead His disciples in becoming His apostles- His special messengers who would be sent by Jesus to proclaim the Gospel to the entire world.
Can you see the purposes of God in how Jesus Christ taught His disciples? Can their failure give you hope that God can still use you in spite of your own failures in serving Him as you should? He will raise you up for His glory if you are among the children of God! Let Him shape and mold you into the man or woman of God that He has called you to be! But do not be like Judas Iscariot who did indeed deny Him forever. Keep seeking Him even if you fall!
Pastor Murray Hack
The Blood of the New Covenant
Mark 14:22-25 22 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." 23 Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And He said to them, "This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many. 25 Assuredly, I say to you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."
On the night before Jesus’ crucifixion He ate His last meal with the disciples which was the first communion- a special service instituted by Jesus Christ and celebrated within the Church today. The communion service is a special service whereby the body of Christ comes into union with God in a special way and by which we remember Jesus’ death and resurrection and we look forward to His second coming when He will judge the world in righteousness.
At the time the disciples did not understand any of this. They had been struggling to accept the truth that Jesus had repeatedly said to them as He prophesied beforehand to His disciples that He would die and rise again. They had no struggles accepting that He would rule as the Christ and they longed to rule in His Kingdom with Him but His death remained a mystery to them. As they were just words it was easy for the disciples to ignore or misinterpret them but now Jesus had given them signs that they could not ignore. There was the sign of the woman anointing Jesus with expensive ointment for His burial (Mark 14:3) and also, just before the last supper, a shocking announcement that it would not be the external enemies (the elders, the chief priests, the scribes, and the Gentiles) who would overcome Jesus’ and have Him killed but a betrayer from within- one of the very twelve that was eating with Jesus (Mark 14:18-21). These weren’t statements that could be misinterpreted. They were very clear. Jesus had been anointed for burial. Jesus would be betrayed by one of the disciples eating with Jesus as they were celebrating the Passover meal together.
Jesus was going to die! Not only must have the disciples been in complete confusion as they examined their own hearts and questioned “Is it I who could betray Jesus?” but the reality of Jesus’ coming death must have been overwhelming them. How difficult and sad this last meal that they spent together must have been. The disciples must have been flooded with thoughts of confusion and bewilderment. They were having their last meal with the Lord and Savior! What could this mean? Would they all of a sudden be alone without Him? They had given up everything to follow Him. How could He die? What was this blood of the new covenant that was shed for many? What could it mean that Jesus would not drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when He drinks it new in the Kingdom of God? The disciples had been seeing Jesus manifest the Kingdom of God within their midst for over three years as He performed all kinds of amazing miracles and preached the Good News to the people of Israel and the surrounding areas. This last meal must have been heart wrenching and filled with questions and uncertainty. It was very special to be a part of this meal and yet at the same time it was very difficult.
So what was the meaning of this blood of the new covenant which did not make sense to the disciples during the last supper but would become clear later? It obviously referred to Jesus’ death. We can find the answer in the book of Hebrews:
Hebrews 9:15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.
In eternity past the Son of God entered into a covenant with God the Father. He agreed to die in our place as a mediator. Why? Because God knew beforehand that Adam would break the covenant of works by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden and we all would be born into this world under the curse of sin. The blood of the covenant signifies the shed blood of the Son of God who would enter into creation as a man to die after living a life of perfect obedience to God. Jesus would pay the penalty of Adam’s sin and at the same time receive the reward of a kingdom of saints united to Him by faith. This new covenant entered into between God and man is called the covenant of grace. Although Jesus Christ had been manifesting His Kingdom continually upon this earth for over three years as He trained His disciples, His Kingdom could not formally be established without Him completing what was required in His covenant with God the Father. He had to die in order to receive the Kingdom of God and to set us free who were under the curse of sin.
Though Jesus has died and risen again and is currently seated in heaven at the right hand of God the Father in all authority and power, He has still not yet drank the fruit of the vine (grape juice) as at this last supper with His disciples. Why? Because His Kingdom is not yet complete. He is still drawing people into the covenant of grace by faith and saving sinners from the curse of sin. Jesus will not return to this world at His second coming until every last soul that He intends to save is in His Kingdom. Then will come the marriage supper of the Lamb:
Revelation 19:6-9 6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; 8 it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. 9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
Are you in the Kingdom of God? Are you special enough to be invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb? You cannot be “good enough” to be invited. The invitations come only “by faith.” Have you drank of the blood of this new covenant? Do you know of the grace of God and have you entered into the covenant of grace with God by faith in Jesus Christ? How special it was for the disciples to eat this last supper with Jesus! How amazing will it be for us who repent and believe in Him to be a part of this marriage supper of the Lamb! Does this excite you? Do you long to see Jesus Christ who died on the cross in order that you may be saved? Or, does the blood of the new covenant mean nothing to you?
Pastor Murray Hack
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.