This Is My Blood of the New Covenant

by Tom Wacaster
(originally written in August 2015)

Every first day of the week we partake of what is scripturally referred to as “the Lord’s supper” (1 Cor. 11:20).  One the elements in that “supper” is the fruit of the vine, representative of the precious blood of Jesus Christ that was shed in our behalf. In many congregations of the Lord’s church, in many countries, it is a custom to read a passage before partaking of each of those elements in the Lord’s supper. Two of those passage frequently read prior to our partaking of the fruit of the vine are located in Matthew and Luke: “And he took a cup, and gave thanks, and gave to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many unto remission of sins” (Matt. 26:27-28). “And the cup in like manner after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood, even that which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:20). I want us to think for a moment about that element (the fruit of the vine) and what it represents. In so doing I am not discounting the importance of the bread as it represents the body of our Lord, for both elements are important, and together they give us a greater appreciation for the wonderful love of the Father in sending His Son, and the amazing love that Jesus has for each of us in His willingness to die on the cross.

After Jesus had died, one of the soldiers pierced the side of Jesus to make sure He was dead. John tells us that “straightway there came out blood and water” (John 19:34). It may be this particular moment to which John referred when he wrote those intriguing words in 1 John 5:8: “For there are three who bear witness, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and the three agree in one.” That death of Jesus, along with His burial and glorious resurrection has borne witness throughout the ages of the deity of our Lord. For those willing to accept the evidence and the testimony of the four inspired accounts of the life of Jesus, that blood holds out the prospect of forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life. Truly the blood of Jesus bears witness upon this earth to the authenticity of the Christian faith. But the blood also bears witness in heaven for those who have embraced the teachings of Jesus and obeyed His will.

Consider the following from Hebrews 9:11-14 and 24: “But Christ having come a high priest of the good things to come, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, entered in once for all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling them that have been defiled, sanctify unto the cleanness of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish unto God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?…For Christ entered not into a holy place made with hands, like in pattern to the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear before the face of God for us.” It is here that the blood takes on its greatest wonder and deepest meaning. With the eye of faith, we see the blood of Jesus as it flowed from His pierced hands, feet, side and head; but God, in His eternal mind, sees the blood of Jesus as the procuring agent that satisfies the divine wrath and offers the cleaning of sins for those who are willing to partake thereof. That precious blood of Jesus is before the throne right now, even as you read these lines. It will be there tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, as long as this world stands. It is the only means by which a man can receive forgiveness of his sins and have the burden of guilt lifted from his soul.

How, then, is that accomplished? How is it possible for my soul to come into contact with the blood of Jesus? Even if I could somehow go back to the cross and catch the blood of Jesus in a cup as it fell from His body, it would not, and could not touch my soul. Let me suggest the following means for getting my soul in contact with the blood of Jesus.

First, I must get into the body of Jesus. The only way you can contact my blood is to either pierce my flesh, or somehow enter into my body. So it is with the blood of Jesus. It was at His death that Jesus shed His blood. In order to contact that blood, I must come into contact with His death and/or get into His body. Listen to the words of Paul regarding this matter: “Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4). The same apostle wrote these words: “For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body” (1 Cor. 12:13a). If theologians would take off their biased glasses of denominational dogma for just a moment and look at what the Holy Spirit is saying through this inspired apostle the question of the essentiality of baptism would never be an issue again. If you want to get where the blood of Jesus is located, you must be baptized “into His death” where He shed that blood, and “into [His] one body” where His blood is located. There is no other way.

Once inside the spiritual body of Christ we must remain in contact with His blood, remaining faithful until, i.e. even in the face of death (Rev. 2:10). While the saving power of Jesus’ life comes through the merits of His death, it is still important that each one who desires eternal life partake of that body and blood: “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life: and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me, and I in him” (John 6:54-56). Some mistakenly believe that Jesus was speaking about partaking of the Lord’s supper here. If they would finish the chapter, they will see this is not the case: “It is the spirit that giveth life; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I have spoken unto you are spirit, and are life” (John 6:63). We “eat” the flesh of Jesus, and “drink” His blood when we abide in His word. To drink of the blood is to take into our heart the life-giving power of the cross, and then to live it out in our daily life. Obedient faith is the means by which this happens. The words of Jesus are to the soul what eating and drinking is to the physical body.

In 1893 a great “Parliament of Religions” was held in Chicago, Illinois. Members of all the various cults were gathered in attendance: there were Hindus, and Buddhists, and representatives of all sorts of exotic Eastern religions. It was designed to be a great festival of tolerance and ecumenical brotherhood; but a preacher, Joseph Cook of Boston, offered a reminder that not all religions are equal. During one of the sessions, he rose and dramatically announced, “Gentlemen, I beg to introduce to you a woman with a great sorrow. Bloodstains are on her hands, and nothing she has tried will remove them. The blood is that of murder. She has been driven to desperation in her distress. Is there anything in your religion that will remove her sin and give her peace?” A hush fell on the gathering. Not one of the swamis or monks said a word. In the heaviness of that silence Cook abruptly raised his eyes heavenward and cried out, “John, can you tell this woman how to get rid of her awful sin?” The preacher waited, as if listening for a reply. Suddenly he cried out, “Listen, John speaks. 1 John 1:7 – ‘The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, purifies us from all sin.’” Not a soul broke the silence that followed; all the representatives of Eastern religions and Western cults sat speechless. Why? Because ONLY Christianity can make that statement: only the shed blood of Jesus can claim the power to forgive “all sin.”

Next time you partake of the fruit of the vine, let your mind drift back to the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross, and remind yourself that His blood, and only His blood, can cleanse your sins; and then rejoice in knowing it has been applied to your soul!

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