Communion Meditation: The Blood of the Covenant, Part 2

Communion

(Exo 29:38-46)  “This is what you are to offer on the altar regularly each day: two lambs a year old. 39 Offer one in the morning and the other at twilight. 40 With the first lamb offer a tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with a quarter of a hin of oil from pressed olives, and a quarter of a hin of wine as a drink offering. 41 Sacrifice the other lamb at twilight with the same grain offering and its drink offering as in the morning–a pleasing aroma, an offering made to the LORD by fire.

42 “For the generations to come this burnt offering is to be made regularly at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting before the LORD. There I will meet you and speak to you; 43 there also I will meet with the Israelites, and the place will be consecrated by my glory.

44 “So I will consecrate the Tent of Meeting and the altar and will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests. 45 Then I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God. 46 They will know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God.

The daily sacrifice of wine, blood, and flour mixed with oil, was given to assure the Israelites that God was present among them and that he had chosen them to be his people so that he could be their God.

The daily sacrifice was blood, flour mixed with oil (bread), and wine. At communion, we provide the bread and the wine. God has already provided the blood. But because it’s God who provides the blood, it’s not our sacrifice to make. Rather, God has already made the sacrifice “once for all.” We bring the rest of the offering, no longer for atonement, but as a thanks offering.

(Heb 7:27)  Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.

For Christians, forgiveness is not an event repeated day after day. It’s “once for all.” We no longer need to be forgiven over and over. But we do need to be reminded.

(Heb 9:19-22)  When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. 20 He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.” 21 In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. 22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

The “blood of the covenant” is God taking a blood oath, promising to keep his word to his people — to be their God and to honor his promises to them.

(Mat 26:26-28)  While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 27 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

When we take this bread and drink this fruit of the vine, we aren’t buying another week’s worth of salvation. That’s not the point.

Nor is this an ordinance — a command — to be obeyed on penalty of damnation.

No, this is God’s reminder to us. God says, in effect, I promised to forgive your sins. I took a blood oath. I meant it. And every week, I want to remind you of my promise and the awful price I paid to honor it. Don’t ever forget that I have promised to forgive your sins, to dwell among you, and to make you holy.

The Lord’s Supper is not about our earning salvation by keeping a command. It’s about God assuring us that he’s already taken care of that for us — and promising, once again, that he’ll be true to his word at the end of all things.

We aren’t here because to skip church damns. We’re here to receive a gift from the hand of God himself. We are here to be reminded that God is our God and we are God’s people — and that he will keep his promises.

[prayer for bread, thanking God for his generosity and this reminder of his faithfulness]

[prayer for cup, thanking God for the blood he shed to make it all possible and pledging to alway remember]

I don’t know why we sometimes introduce the offering by saying it’s “separate and apart” from the Lord’s Supper. It’s not. It’s more of a “now, therefore.”

Because God has been so unspeakably generous to us, now, therefore, we strive to be generous to others, too — just like God. Generous with our time, our hearts, and even our money. Not so that we’ll somehow buy our way out of heaven, but because giving as God gives is to be like God, indeed, to be whom he created us to be.

[prayer for the offering, asking that God accept our thanks for all he has done for us.]

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3 Responses

  1. “For Christians, forgiveness is not an event repeated day after day. It’s “once for all.” We no longer need to be forgiven over and over. But we do need to be reminded.”

    That’s really well put. Something that people need to hear. Thanks!

    Grace and peace,
    Tim Archer

  2. Jay,

    Thank you for your comments about “separate and apart from the Lord’s Supper.” This has long been one of my “pet peeve” statements. What a legalistic view of our response to God’s love!

    I’m convinced that if something is truly “separate and apart from” the thing we commemorate in the Lord’s Supper, it should have no place in Christianity.

  3. Jerry,

    I wonder if we say “separate and apart” so those in the audience counting acts of worship can be assured we have five and not four? Of course, who would count acts of worship and not know the difference?

    It’s beyond me where that custom started ….

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