John Alan Turner

Speaker, Author, Mentor, Coach, Facilitator

Lenten Reader -- Day 26

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,” when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.... This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord, “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:31, 33) ----------

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27)

----------

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.” (Luke 22:19)

----------

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:27-29)

----------

For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11:26)

----------

Those who accepted [Peter’s] message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:41-42, 46-47)

----------

God did not give the Israelites the 10 Commandments so they would obey and be saved. He saved them and then gave them the Law so they would know how to live as his people.

But God knew they would not be able to keep the Law. He knew his people had a sin nature that would inevitably override their desire to be obedient. In fact, it was always his plan to use the Law to tutor them along, restraining them externally until the time was right.

Then God would do something really astonishing. He would put his Spirit inside of his people, and they would begin being transformed from within.

But there was much debate over when that day would come. When would this new covenant take effect? What were the conditions necessary for God to implement the fullness of his plan?

Oddly enough, the pathway to life for humans required the death of the Son of God. And so it was that Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took up two simple elements: bread and wine. He blessed them and distributed them to his friends, saying, “The time has come. The new covenant will be ratified by my blood and my blood alone.” The bread would represent his broken body, and the wine is his blood.

He will do it all.

Our task is to simply remember, and as often as we do this, we proclaim the benefits of his death until his return.

----------

Lord God, by the power of your Holy Spirit at work within me, teach me to desire you more than anything else, to will what you command, to hope in your promises, to trust in you and to wait for your timing in all things. I confess that it is often easy to overlook the voice of your Spirit in the constant noise and bustle of this world. And yet I know that it is impossible for me to live the Christian life without his presence and power. He produces the life of Christ within me, and I will only bear the fruit of the Spirit as I yield to his guidance. Thank you for instituting this new covenant. Thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit. May I never grieve or quench his work in my life. May I walk in utter dependence upon his comfort and counsel. In Christ’s name. Amen.