Living out our Covenant
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood.”
(1 Corinthians 11:25)
Today’s readings: Ex 12:1-14; Ps 116:12-18; 1 Cor 11:23-26; Jn 13:1-15
In Exodus 12:1-14, God gives His people His prescription for the Passover ritual. God was about to unleash the tenth and final plague, which would pave the way for the liberation of His enslaved people. Their deliverance was at hand.
Part of the ritual was the slaughter of a lamb without blemish (Ex 12:5-6). The blood of the sacrificial lamb would then be applied to the doorposts and lintel of every house (Ex 12:7), so that God would not strike down their first-borns. God would pass over (Ex 12:13).
The blood of the innocent sacrificial lamb would be their protection and would lead to their deliverance.
God freed the Hebrew slaves and then entered into covenant with them. Today we too have a covenant with God. Again it is occasioned by the shedding of innocent blood in sacrifice. But this time, the sacrificial lamb is God Himself. Jesus is not only without blemish but is perfectly holy. The blood of the lamb is not only applied to the surface of the doorposts of homes, but is ingested into the temple of the Holy Spirit, which is our physical bodies. Jesus’ blood is the seal of our covenant. “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.” (1 Cor 11:25).
By the blood of Jesus we are saved, we are delivered from bondage and slavery, and we begin our trek to the promised land. By the covenant in Jesus’ blood, we are restored to the Father and open ourselves to the bountiful blessings of God. How precious indeed is this covenant in the blood of the Savior himself!
We need to respond. We respond first with profound thanksgiving. “How can I repay the Lord for all the good done for me? I will raise the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people. I will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord.” (Ps 116:12-14,17). How indeed can we ever repay the Lord? We cannot, but we respond in ways that are pleasing to Him. We worship Him, we obey Him, we trust in Him, we proclaim Him to all, we live out our covenant.
Second, we allow Him to use us as His instruments. We become His servants. “Lord, I am your servant” (Ps 116:16). But what does it mean to be a servant? Jesus himself gave us a model to follow. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, a task that could not even be required of the lowliest Jewish slave. That is why Peter objected vehemently to what Jesus intended to do (Jn 13:8a).
After Jesus had washed their feet, he gave them the lesson. “Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” (Jn 13:12-15).
Part of our covenant with God is that we become His servants. We serve God, and we serve one another. In serving, we do not do so according to worldly standards, but according to the standards set by Jesus. Thus, even as leaders and elders, we take the lowest place, as a servant of the many. In the kingdom of God, the last shall be first and the first will be last (Mt 20:16). The least is the greatest (Lk 9:48) and the greatest is the servant (Mt 23:11).
Our covenant brings us restoration and salvation, and our covenant gives us the privilege to be God’s servants, doing His will for the life of the world.
Action: Do you realize what Jesus has done for you? How have you responded? Think about whether you live your life in constant gratitude to God. Think about how you serve others. Do you take the lowest place? Do you give the glory to God?
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for shedding your precious blood for me. I am totally undeserving, but in your great love for me, you deemed it right to die for me. I can only rejoice and allow my heart to sing out your praises. And Lord, you do even more. You now use me to bring your salvation to others. What a wonderful and unimaginable privilege that is. I am unworthy, but you have entrusted me with this great gift, and have sent me off to do your very own mission. Help me, Lord, to respond with my all. I am your child. I am your servant. Amen.
God bless you all.
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21)