Betrayal and Redemption

The Last Super: Betrayal and Redemption
Matthew 26:20-30
“For this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sin.”

We can only imagine the atmosphere in the room as Jesus and the disciples celebrated the Passover. Typically, it would have been a time of great celebration and joy as they celebrated God’s deliverance of Israel from the bondage of slavery.  But this time, it was different.  The shadow of Christ’s impending death descended upon the room.  Then, when Jesus informed the disciples that one of them would betray Jesus, they were shocked and distraught. It must have been shocking to the disciples that one of them would do such a thing.  However, we can only imagine the absolute shock it must have been for Judas for Jesus to reveal that he knew Judas’ plot.  It was hardly a night of celebration.
However, amid the melancholy that filled the room that night, Jesus institutes a new celebration that will be remembered by all Christians regularly throughout the rest of history.  It would be a celebration upon which the hope of all humanity would dwell.  But to understand the celebration, we must return to Jeremiah 31:31-40.  The Mosaic covenant that God established on Mount Sinai was irreparably broken. While God had been faithful, the people had repeatedly broken the covenant and proven that they had a heart of treachery rather than a heart of faithfulness.  Rather than cast aside the people as unredeemable, God promises that in the future, he will establish a new covenant that will achieve what the Mosaic covenant could not—the change of the heart. This new ocvenant will bring a complete transformation of the people in which they will live fully righteous before God because God will now imprint his moral law and righteousness upon the hearts of the people.  They will fully know the Lord and walk in complete obedience to God.  
In this last supper, Jesus now informs the disciples that this covenant is now being inaugerated.  Unlike the Mosaic covenant, which was established through the sacrifice of a bull, the new covenant will be ratified through the sacrifice of Christ.  In his death, he will validate the new covenant. In his death, Christ paid the penalty for our sins, his body being broken for us so that we are no longer under the judgment of sin. Because of Christ’s death, we are now declared righteous in the sight of God.  In his death, Christ not only removed the guilt of our sins, he placed his righteousness on us.  No longer are we tainted by the guilt of sin and under the sentence of its judgment.  Instead, we are transformed by the righteousness of Christ.  However, there is a response required on our part.  We need to partake of the new covenant to be fully realized. The word take is a command, and the word has the idea of taking hold of something and taking possession of it.  In other words, the new covenant would not be applied to us until we possess it by faith.  It must be received and appropriated to us.  We must partake of it and, in so doing, become participants in his death and resurrection. When we do so, we have the hope and promise of eternal life.  
Even as we celebrate the accomplishment of our salvation upon the cross, we are reminded of the hope we have for eternity.  In verse 29, Christ states that he will not eat the fruit of the vine until he celebrates with us in eternity.  Jesus is pointing us forward to the end of this world system, broken and dominated by sin and the establishing of his perfect kingdom. Even though Jesus will be leaving his disciples, he affirms that there will be a time in the future when he will personally be present with us, and we will again enjoy his physical fellowship with us. When we celebrate communion, we celebrate what he did for us on the cross and what he will do for us in the future.  It reminds us that our destiny is not the present world but our future presence with Christ.  And that is worthy of continual celebration. Even today, spend time thanking Christ for what he has done for us in his death and what he will do for us in his future kingdom, for that is our blessed hope.

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