During the season of Lent, many practitioners of the Catholic faith fast on "Good Friday". Now Good Friday is supposed to be a day of remembrance of the physical suffering that was endured by Jesus as He was escorted up to His death by crucifixion. In this part, we will examine the Lord's Supper and Two Convents in relation to life.
Wednesday? Thursday? Friday?
Although there is much theological debate as to which day Jesus was actually crucified and died on, let us heed to the words of the Apostle Paul, "One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord", (Romans 14:5-6a). Ironically, after the Day of Resurrection, neither Jesus nor His believers ever encouraged anyone to esteem death over life. Hence, when Jesus addressed His disciples at His last Passover feast, He added what is now known as the "Lord's Supper"; in which He was stressing a reference to life!
In the Lord's Supper (Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:17-25; Luke 22:7-22; John 13:21-30), Jesus referred to bread as His body and wine as His blood. When you both read and examine John 6 in context, then you will find what Jesus means by the usage of these metaphors.
In verses 31-35, we observe the comparison of the heavenly bread of "manna" that was given on the days of Moses (Exodus 16:4,15; 31-35) with that which God "gives life to the world" (verse 35). Then Jesus goes into specifics: in verse 35 ... "I am the bread off life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me, shall never thirst." In essence, the bread represents Jesus as our spiritual source of nourishment that has no end. The blood represents belief and faith in Jesus.
Furthermore, in verse 51, Jesus elaborates and states, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world." In addition, in verse 63, Jesus reveals the Holy Spirit as the source of life and correlates him to His words. In essence, the reason the words found in God's Word (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4) appear to revive the spirit of many people is that the Holy Spirit is working within and through them.
After the People of Israel bound themselves to God, He made a covenant with them; they were to obey the commandments (Exodus 19:3-9). However, for many years the People of Israel could not do so (Joshua 7:10-13; Judges 2:20-23; Ezekiel 17:19-21; 44:6-9; Hosea 8:1- ). So through the prophet Jeremiah (31:33-36), God was escorting the People of Israel into a second covenant, which was later introduced through Jesus (Matthew 26:26-28); making it a matter of the heart (Hebrews 8:7-13).
In essence, whereas the first covenant worked from the outside to the internal (outer obedience leading to an internal righteous heart), the second covenant worked from the inside to the external (inner transformation of the heart leading to the expression of external righteousness; that is by abiding in Jesus).
The New Covenant
Historically, everything that we know of the old covenant between the People of Israel and God can be summed up with two things: first, obedience to the "ten commandments" was required by God (Deuteronomy 28:1-2); second, there had to be a blood sacrifice (from an animal) to make a payment for a person's sins; most of these sacrifices were made during God's appointed times throughout the year.
In the new covenant, the death of Jesus shows God's love for sinners (Romans 5:6-8; 1 Peter 3:18). Jesus, as the Lamb of God (1 Peter 1:19), brought into actualization the new covenant with His blood (Luke 22:20; Hebrews 9:12). It was not a mere payment that fulfilled the requirements for that year, nor the people that lived during the times of Jesus. His death, made a payment of blood for the sins of all mankind (Matthew 26:28; Mark 4:24); including our own (Hebrews 9:11-15). In doing so, the body and the blood of Jesus granted all believers who abide in Him (John 6:56; 15:4) to have eternal life (John 6:40, 47, 54).
In closing, it is good to remember a day in which Jesus was crucified unto death. However, it is better to remember the fulfillment of the actualization of the second covenant that granted believers of Jesus the opportunity to receive eternal life. Let us remember the eternal life Jesus spoke off through the practice of the "Lord's Supper", (1 Corinthians 11:23-29). Amen
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R. A. Gómez