Posted in Lent devotions

Something old, something new

“Scenes from the passion” Lent devotion for Thursday, February 25, 2021. Photo by Serge Esteve on Unsplash

[Jesus said,] “Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God” (Mark 14:25).

So if you were on death row, what would you request for your last meal? The topic may be morbid, but we like to toss around creative ideas for the last food we’ll ever eat. Fried chicken and ice cream are among the most ordered items by those about to be executed.

Jesus is having his last meal, his “last supper,” with the disciples. He knows it. They don’t. They don’t realize all that will happen in the next twenty-four hours. By this time tomorrow night, Jesus will be dead and his body will be in a tomb. What do you imagine they thought when Jesus spoke those words at the end of their Passover meal together?

Did this mean Jesus was finally going to establish his kingdom? Hopes were high, especially after a triumphant entry into Jerusalem and a violent cleansing of the temple. Some disciples, like James and John, were already scrambling for positions of honor on Jesus’ staff (Mark 120:35-37). Everyone knew from the prophet Isaiah that the mountain of the house of the Lord would be preeminent, and he would be judge of all (Isaiah 2). Maybe the next time they met Jesus would indeed be Lord of all!

As Jesus gave them the cup that night, the old covenant was coming to a close and a new covenant beginning. The old covenant, sealed with the blood of animals, was a shadow of the promised Messiah. The new covenant would be sealed with the blood of Jesus Christ, sanctifying us once and for all. The next time Jesus ate and drank with them, he would be risen from the dead, and the Lamb who was slain would indeed be on the throne forever!

The apostle Paul reminds us, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). When we eat and drink the Lord’s Supper, we do so as the baptized children of God who have put off the old self and put on the new self (Colossians 3:9). We too “drink it new in the kingdom of God!”

Some people always order the same thing when they go to a restaurant. They don’t even need to look at the menu. Why not try something new? Sometimes we get into a rut and prepare the same meals at home. Why not try some new recipes? And sometimes we kneel at the altar and the sacrament seems like the same old same old.

But it’s not. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22,23)!

Heavenly Father, thank you for the special meal of the Supper. Though it’s so familiar, it always fills me with new hope! Amen.

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