Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Way of the Cross (36)

What can you do when a covenant is completely broken? Whether it's the marriage covenant which no longer binds two people together, or a business partnership which has gone sour; things are painful, uncertain, sad.

The prophet Jeremiah lived in the days of a painful divorce. The people of God in Judah had forsaken their God; turned their back on his covenant; renounced their marriage vows. Jerusalem was falling down around them, the besiegers coming over the horizon. The covenant had failed, not because of God, but because of the people.

Jeremiah has words of hope, words of comfort, and words of a new covenant - a covenant that would not be broken:

Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbour and each one his brother, saying 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

As Jesus dies on the cross, he fulfills the old law, the old covenant, and institutes the new. He has perfectly obeyed the Law that condemns us, and so the law is written on our hearts, so that we are able to obey it. As we draw near in faith, God is our God, and we his people.

And when we live in the new Jerusalem, there will be no need of ministers, teachers or elders - all of us will perfectly know the Lord. How wonderful that will be - our dull hearts no longer dull, living by sight and not by faith.

And to cap it all, the glorious promise of sins forgiven and forgotten - through the blood of Jesus. Remember those words of Jesus as he shared the Last Supper and instituted the Holy Communion?

Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matt 26:27-28)

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