Luke 22 v 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
We start today by reminding ourselves that we are still busy with point 2 of the 3 things Jesus said in Luke 22 v 19 and 20. We have mentioned the amazing new covenant which the cup symbolizes. But there is something else.
Jesus said his blood would be “poured out”. This is a way of speaking about “shedding” his blood. It is the language associated with the sacrificial offerings of Israel and points back to the Exodus story when a lamb was taken, killed and its blood painted onto the doorposts of the people’s houses. Read about this in Exodus 12 v 1 – 14.
What was the purpose of this exercise? Well, when the Angel of Death passed over the land to bring God’s judgement on the Egyptians, he “passed over” every house where he saw the marks of the blood. This indicated that a sacrifice had been made, a lamb had been killed, in lieu of the inhabitants of this house. All are sinners, Israelites and Egyptians alike, but a sacrificial system was established by God whereby the lamb slain, was viewed as if it was the sinner and thus when the angel of death passed over, for those with the blood marks on their doors, death had already occurred within the house, and the people were safe.
This of course, raises a question with many people. Why does God require anything to die to pay for sins, in the first place? The answer to this question will be met with satisfaction only if the questioner can grasp two things – the incredible greatness and holiness of God and how absurd it is for us to reject him, marginalize him or treat him as an irrelevance – and the awful seriousness of our sin and arrogance in assuming that God can be safely ignored. God as the author of life has the right and the power to remove life. The opposite of life is death – non-life. That is the retribution, the punishment that rests upon all who have the audacity to turn away from the One person in the Universe whose great interest is the welfare of all his creatures.
So the blood of the lamb was evidence that punishment had already taken place in that household. But of course, we all know that it is all symbolic. The blood of a literal lamb, could not take away anybody’s sins. But the blood of the God/Man, who is called the Lamb of God, certainly could.
Thus when Jesus talked about his blood being poured out, he was talking about that moment, when he, on the cross, will bring to fulfilment all that the sacrificial lambs through the centuries pointed towards – the moment when His sacrifice would take away our sin.
These thoughts are too high for us. They need to be pondered upon with a heart of thanksgiving.