The Cup

April 10, 2022

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, saying, “Take this cup that is poured out for you, and divide it among yourselves. Drink of it, all of you, for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in remembrance of Me.” (Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25).

The word ‘cup’ is a metonymy (meh-tah-nuh-mee), meaning it represents what it contains: literally wine. The wine symbolized Jesus’ blood, therefore, This cup is the new covenant in My blood (1 Corinthians 11:25). A covenant is an agreement or a contract between two parties. It is used to bring people into a binding relationship so that some undertaking can be engaged and achieved. Each covenant established the basis of a relationship, conditions for that relationship, promises and conditions of the relationship, and consequences if those conditions were unmet. One of the most familiar examples of a covenant was, and is marriage.

The Old Covenant. There are four primary covenants in the Old Testament: (1) The Noahic Covenant (Genesis 9) - God would restore the earth from the flood and not destroy the earth again by water, (2) The Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12; 15) - God promised Abraham a land, descendants, and blessings which would extend through him to all the peoples of the earth, (3) The Mosaic Covenant (Exodus 19; 24) - God gave His Law to govern Israel in the Promised Land. It did not provide salvation, but distinguished the Jews from the surrounding nations as a special kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:1-7). This covenant was conditional and defined blessings and curses based on obedience or disobedience (see Deuteronomy 28-29), and (4) The Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7) - God promised a descendant of David to reign over God’s people. Through David the Messiah would come and secure the promises of land, descendants, and blessing in the coming Kingdom.

The New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Luke 22:14-23). There is only one New Testament Covenant. It fulfills all of the Old Testament Covenants. It would bring forgiveness of sin, internal renewal of the heart, intimate, personal knowledge of God, and eternal life in heaven. On the night of Jesus’ Last Supper, He took the cup and declared that His death would inaugurate this New Covenant. All of the Covenants were sealed by a blood sacrifice. Why? The Lord said (Leviticus 17:11) For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul, and (Hebrews 9:22) And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission (forgiveness of sin). Jesus shed His blood on the cross so that our sins would be forgiven. His shed blood ratified the New Covenant that brought salvation to the repentant sinner. It was the standard God had set and it is the sacrifice we remember when we eat the bread and drink the cup in the Lord’s Supper. Amen.


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