31 The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. 32 It won’t be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant with me even though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 No, this is the covenant that I will make with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my Instructions within them and engrave them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 They will no longer need to teach each other to say, “Know the Lord!” because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord; for I will forgive their wrongdoing and never again remember their sins.
23 I received a tradition from the Lord, which I also handed on to you: on the night on which he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread. 24 After giving thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this to remember me.” 25 He did the same thing with the cup, after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Every time you drink it, do this to remember me.” 26 Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you broadcast the death of the Lord until he comes.
The prophet Jeremiah grieved over Israel’s faithlessness, which was leading to judgment and exile. But he also looked to a hopeful future based on God’s mercy. He said God pledged to “engrave” his instructions on each heart that was open to God’s love. Then he added God’s merciful promise: “I will forgive their wrongdoing and never again remember their sins.”
Lord Jesus, you don’t want a casual, come-and-go connection with me. You shed your blood to invite me into an enduring covenant. Help me to whole-heartedly accept. Amen.
* William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: The Letters to the Corinthians (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1975, p. 103.
In two weeks I will be traveling to Israel with 45 other Young Adults from Resurrection to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, learning and seeing for the first time what He saw and where He stood. To say I’m excited to take this pilgrimage would be an understatement.
The other day, I was explaining this trip to my five-year-old daughter. I mentioned that I will go to Jerusalem, Capernaum, the Sea of Galilee, and Bethlehem. This last place caught her attention.
“Bethlehem?” she asked excitedly, her interest piqued. “You’re going where Jesus was born?"
“Yes,” I said, adoring the fact that she recognized this from her Sunday School classes.
“Will you see the manger?”
This was a little trickier to explain. “Well, the manger isn’t really there anymore. But I will see where it was.”
As expected, this confused her a little bit. “But where is baby Jesus then?”
“Well, he’s all grown up now,” I answered.
Her eyes lit up. “Oh! Well, if he’s all grown up, maybe he’ll find you when he’s walking around Bethlehem.”
I loved this. The simple faith of a child. Jesus is so unquestionably present to her that she envisions him as quite literally walking around teaching and healing today. I pray that she never loses sight of that kind of faith.
This is a very simple outlook on Jesus’ covenant for us. He is looking for us. He is always there, available for anybody (not just the physical descendants of Abraham). By engraving his instructions on our hearts, he is seeking a personal relationship with us, something more than a set of rules carved on stone tablets.
I wonder how many of us know someone who won’t come to church because they feel like it’s an exclusive club--that you have to be born into it, or have to make a commitment much earlier in life. Maybe you yourself feel that way. Jesus’ new covenant is a sign that Christianity, the path to God, the path to Heaven, is for anybody and everybody. God, the creator of every one of us, is searching and waiting for us to come to him, ready to have and build a relationship.
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