A new covenant? How did Jesus’ bloodshed establish a new covenant? Who are the parties? Why a new covenant? Could a previous covenant shed light on this one?
In the Ancient Near East, a national covenant defined who was in power. That’s what the Sinai covenant achieved: a people rescued from slavery became the first nation on earth to live under God’s reign, and the covenant that was celebrated with a meal (Exodus 24:7-11).
How did the new covenant establish God’s reign in Christ? What is it we’re proclaiming in this meal?
Continue reading “The new covenant meal (podcast) (1 Corinthians 11:23–26)”
Communion is a new-covenant feast. How does the body and blood of the Christ create a covenant between heaven and earth?
If your church celebrates the Lord’s Supper, you’ll be familiar with this:
1 Corinthians 11:23–26 (NIV)
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
We hear this so often we may not see how counter-cultural it is. When we celebrate our Lord, we’re proclaiming the king who gave his life to re-establish the covenant relationship between heaven and earth.
Those verses begin and end by proclaiming Jesus as kyrios — Lord. A kyrios in Greek culture was a master or a ruler. The head of a business was the kyrios: the master, the lord of the business. The head of the Empire was a kyrios: Caesar expected you to call him your lord.
But if you saw a convicted criminal hanging on a cross beside the road, you would not normally call him kyrios. The crowd would be more likely to call him Loser than Lord.
In what sense is Jesus our kyrios, the Lord?
Continue reading “The covenant meal (1 Corinthians 11:23–26)”
What was Jesus referring to when he spoke of celebrating anew with them in his Father’s kingdom?
Closing his Last Supper, Jesus said, I tell you the truth, from this moment I will not drink the vine’s produce with you until the day when I drink it with you anew in my Father’s kingdom (Matthew 26:29).
What did he mean? According to some communion talks, Jesus was referring to the big banquet at the end of time when everyone is under God’s authority. But that doesn’t really work: within a few days, Jesus was eating with them again (Luke 24:30, 43; John 21:5-13; Acts 1:4).
Continue reading “With you in my Father’s kingdom (Matthew 26:29)”
What did Jesus mean by this phrase? The backstory is not to be missed.
I’m meditating on a phrase Jesus used at his last supper: This is my blood of the covenant (26:28). What did he mean by my blood? How is his blood covenantal?
Since this was a Passover meal, I’ve heard people say that Jesus was the Passover lamb sacrificed for us. You can draw that parallel (as Paul does in 1 Corinthians 5:7, to ask us to live unleavened lives). But I doubt that’s what Jesus was saying.
Continue reading “My blood of the covenant (Matthew 26:28)”
Could “the Lord’s supper” be rendered better as “the imperial banquet”?
When Paul mentions the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 11:20), he does something very odd. The normal word for Lord is kyrios, but Paul uses kyriakos. This is a rare word (only here and Revelation 1:10), so it’s a significant choice, not something you could do by accident. Why did he choose this word? What did he mean? Continue reading “The Lord’s supper as imperial banquet?”
Christians meet around the Lord’s Table. Some call it Eucharist (receiving the goodness of God’s grace). Some call it communion (communing with Jesus and his people). Why is it called the Lord’s Table?
The phrase occurs only once in the NT, and it’s worth the effort to understand:
Continue reading “The Lord’s table: the Jewish background”