Christ’s blood serves as a basis for a new covenant between God and humanity. Whenever we celebrate communion, we are called to recall this new covenant, and our new birth that results from it.
Matthew 26:26-30 - A New Covenant
Hello and welcome to the Bite-Sized Gospel with Aneel Aranha. Today we will reflect on Matthew 26:26-30. Listen.
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
During this meal — the last supper Jesus would have before his crucifixion and death — he took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." He then took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."
A covenant is a solemn agreement between God and his people. It is a recurring theme throughout the Bible. In the Old Testament, covenants were typically sealed with the shedding of blood, symbolizing the seriousness and permanence of the agreement. The blood of the sacrifice was seen as a way of purifying and consecrating the covenant and was often sprinkled on the people or on the altar.
In the New Testament, Jesus is presented as the ultimate sacrifice, whose blood serves as the basis for a new covenant between God and humanity. By offering his body and blood as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins, Jesus inaugurates a new era of relationship between God and his people, one that is marked by grace, love, and redemption.
The significance of the body and blood of Jesus as the new covenant is not just theological, however. It is also deeply personal and transformative. As Christians, we are invited to partake in the body and blood of Christ through Communion, which serves as a powerful reminder of the sacrificial love and grace that Jesus offers to us.
When we are baptized in Christ, we are united with him in death and consequently united with him in his resurrection. We become born again, a new creation. Paul writes: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The "old" refers to the previous state of sinfulness and spiritual death that characterized our lives before coming to faith in Jesus Christ. The "new" refers to the new life that believers have in Christ, characterized by righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
This new creation is not just a superficial change in behavior or a temporary emotional high. It is a radical and permanent transformation of our entire being, accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit. As Paul writes in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
May we remember these truths every time we partake of communion and live in the power of the new covenant.
God bless you.