Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Blood Covenant and Kingdom

I am continuing my series on the secrets of the kingdom with this passage in Matthew 26:27-29 (NIV):

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.”
I'm looking at this passage because it was next in my studies of the kingdom. So what do we learn about the kingdom here?  Other passages speak about the kingdom or reign of God as a present reality.  This passage  seems to be of future time and place where God's rules.

And don't tell some conservative Christians, but it seems like wine may be served.  Some Christians I know are uncomfortable going to places where they know wine will be served... this may be an issue for them, so maybe it is best if we don't tell them and just let them be surprised.  :)

And what does Jesus say about His blood?

Another aspect of this passage that I find interesting is what Jesus says, and doesn't say about His blood. I've been taught to view Jesus' blood as a payment for sin.  I now see problems with this legalistic framework and am not a fan of the penal substitutionary attonment theory.  So I now enjoy reading passages like this with a fresh set of eyes.  

Throughout time there have been many cultures that have had some sort of blood covenant ritual.  In our culture we have a handshake covenant that still means something to many.  The roots of the handshake includes a form where the people would cut their hands and shake with bloody hands.

Also we see in Genesis 15 a covenant between God and Abraham where animals were cut in half.



Then in Genesis 17:10 we see the covenant with Abraham and his descendants.
"This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. "
Exodus 24:8 speaks of a covenant where Moses had just met with God and given the people the 10 commandments (plus a few pages more).
"And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
Take a moment to think about each of these covenants between God and man.  Imagine Moses throwing blood on the people.  Yes it is hard for us to understand, this goes beyond our cultural norms. What do you think the meaning or significance of the blood was in these covenants?

Do we think the blood was a payment for sin in any of these other examples?

The wording Jesus used sounds similar to what Moses used "blood of the covenant".  He could have said, this blood is payment for your sins, but He didn't.

Jesus is saying He is making a covenant, promise or commitment with His people. The blood used in making this covenant will be His own blood.   When we drink together celebrating the Lords supper, we repeat this sign, and remember this covenant and commitment. This is a covenant or promise for the forgiveness of sins.

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2 comments:

Steve Martin said...

We believe (since He commanded that we 'do it'...that He is in the wine...and the bread of the Lord's Supper.

He said, "This IS my body. This IS my blood."

He also said that "if you don't drink His bllod and eat His body, then you have no life in you."

We believe this is the Word of God. Visable Word. A pure gift, to us. That we might have assurance without looking inward.

Unlike the Catholics who believe that the wine and bread actuall TURN INTO the body and blood of Jesus...we Lutherans don't go there. we say that He is truly present, but we don't claim to know how. We just trust that He is.

More radical theology from your friendly neighborhood Lutheran guy :D.

Thanks, Jon.

Jonathan said...

Thanks Steve Martin for sharing.