Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Monday, April 15 - The New Covenant

“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” — Matthew 26:28

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In the past, loyalty and long-term commitment were common in professional sports. Walter Payton spent all 13 years of his professional career as a Chicago Bear in the NFL. These days, however, players and coaches may stay with one team only one or two years, sometimes even after a verbal commitment to stay for the long haul. We also see and hear broken promises at work, in school and at home. Sometimes contracts are carefully written with specific wording, but one or both parties may not keep their end of the bargain.

This problem of people not keeping commitments started in the Garden of Eden when the Lord promised to provide everything the first family needed without trouble, as long as they did not eat the fruit of one particular tree. Though God did His part, Adam and Eve failed and had to leave paradise. From that day forward, people now deal with all kinds of problems.

As soon as Adam and Eve sinned, the Lord provided a covering for their sin. When animal skins were used as a covering for their first clothing, the shedding of blood was understood. In Genesis 3:15, God gave a strong hint about Christ coming one day in the distant future as He spoke about Jesus having His feet bruised (by the nails driven in them). Gradually, the Lord set up a complicated system of animal sacrifice to atone for sins. Old Testament priests confessed their own sins as well as the sins of the people when they presented the animals. Then the altar was often covered with blood to symbolize God’s anger over sin, but also the cleansing of sin and forgiveness.

After centuries of the Israelites trying to follow a long list of guidelines, the Lord inspired the prophet Jeremiah to speak about a new arrangement with a simpler approach to personal prayer, access to God, public worship and many other aspects. “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. … No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, “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 wickedness and will remember their sins no more'” (Jeremiah 31:31, 34).

In the New Testament, these words from Jeremiah are quoted in Hebrews 8 as the writer explained the sealing of the new covenant through the blood of Christ. “But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6). As Jesus explained the move from the Old Testament Passover meal to the New Testament Lord’s Supper, He spoke about His sacrifice on the cross as the key to salvation for every believer. “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28).

Jesus’ sacrifice for us was the plan all along. It was part of God’s commitment to us to provide for us from the beginning. What a merciful God we serve! He even gave us breadcrumbs along the way so we could be certain that Jesus was who He said He was: our Savior!

— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Georgia

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