The New Covenant

Read: Mark 14:22-26

Take; this is my body . . . This is my blood . . . which is poured out for many. (vv. 22-24)

These words are familiar to many of us. We often hear them at worship on Sundays. They are called “the words of institution.” They are spoken as part of the Lord’s Supper immediately before the bread and the cup are distributed to the congregation of believers.

They are important words, with deep meaning. There in the upper room, Jesus transformed the Old Testament Passover ritual into a new covenant practice depicting the sacrifice of his body and blood for the sins of the whole world.

It is important to realize that Jesus was replacing the old covenant relationship that God had with his people in the Old Testament. The old covenant depended on people’s obedience to God’s law. Disobedience to God’s law meant the shattering of that covenant relationship.

But now, Jesus was saying the new covenant that he was instituting would not be based on human effort or performance. It would be based on the sure sacrifice of his body and blood. That is to say, it is based on love—God’s amazing and unlimited love. Jesus was saying, “By what I am doing here, I am showing you how much God loves you.” Through the Lord’s Supper, God is telling us that because of what Jesus did on the cross, we are no longer under the law, but ever and always within his love. —John Koedyker

As you pray, remember the ways that the bread and the cup remind us of Christ’s unending love. 

About the Author

Rev. John Koedyker has been a pastor in the Reformed Church in America for more than forty years. His ministry began in Japan where he served as a missionary for ten years. After that he has served churches in Iowa and Michigan. He has served as the Stated Clerk of Muskegon Classis, RCA, for the past sixteen years and also presently serves as pastor of congregational care at First Reformed Church of Grand Haven, Michigan. John has written a number of times previously for Words of Hope and he has a bi-monthly religion column in the Grand Haven Tribune. He is married to Marilyn, and they have four grown children and seven grandchildren.

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