Monday, May 12, 2014

The New Covenant Surpise

Blog based on "Never before Seen" by J. Mark Beach in Tabletalk for May 2014

Is the Christian faith subject to such changing fashions?  It may seem so if we read 1 Corinthians 11:25, "In the same way also he took the cup after supper saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood.  Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.'"

Paul says that Jesus presented a NEW covenant in his blood.  Did the centuries of rule in the Old Testament come to an end?  Did God change his mind?  Is the Old Testament pass, washed up, stale?  Does the New Testament render the Old obsolete?

The first place to look at Luke 24.  Verses 1-12 tell the story of the women looking for Jesus but not finding him because he is alive!  "And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, 'Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen.'"

One thing is for sure: Jesus rose from the dead.  He is alive.  Let us not live as if he was still dead or some place where he can't see us.  He is alive and sees everything we do.  If this is bad news for you, then the good news is that you can repent and let him guide you through the rest of your life.
And since he is alive, the same God still rules in the New Testament as he did in the Old Testament.

Next is verses 13-35.  Two men walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus.  They are discussing the strange news that the women saw Jesus alive and still don't quite believe because they still despair from the crucifixion last Friday.  A mysterious man joins them.  It is Jesus but they still aren't paying attention.

Jesus asks, "What are y'all discussing today?"

18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”

Basically, their synagogues brought them up to believe in the Scriptures that say the Messiah would come and restore Israel to its kingdom.  There would always be a Davidic king on the throne, and all the world would have peace.  They felt like the story of Jesus played out differently than what they learned from their Talmud.

25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

This mystery man that they still do not recognize then takes them through every Scripture in the Jewish canon that point to Jesus.  He explains how they fit together and how they apply to Jesus and especially to the events of the past weekend.  The guys finally realize that what they knew was only bits and pieces.  Now that Jesus has come and finished his mission, they can put these pieces together and see the finished puzzle.  They invite him to dinner.  Jesus breaks bread and blesses it.  They finally realize that it was Jesus talking to them the whole time!

So basically, the Old Testament did not go out of style.  The Old Testament pointed to Jesus's story in fragments.  The New Testament shows all those fragments fulfilled in hindsight.  In one testament, Jesus was only promised.  In this testament, Jesus has fulfilled the law and ushered in the Church age.  It is the same covenant in both testaments, but now we can open the present and see what is inside.  

No comments:

Post a Comment