Summary: God through grace, provides the means from within Israel to fulfill the Covenant agreement from the side of man
[IN GOD’S IMAGE 34 – THE NEW COVENANT]
This message is part of a series of 90 sermons based on the title, “In God’s Image – God’s Purpose for humanity.” This series of free sermons or the equivalent free book format is designed to take the reader through an amazing process beginning with God in prehistory and finishing with humanity joining God in eternity as His loving sons and daughters. It is at times, a painful yet fascinating story, not only for humanity, but also for God. As the sermons follow a chronological view of the story of salvation, it is highly recommend they be presented in numerical order rather than jumping to the more “interesting” or “controversial” subjects as the material builds on what is presented earlier. We also recommend reading the introduction prior to using the material. The free book version along with any graphics or figures mentioned in this series can be downloaded at www.ingodsimage.site - Gary Regazzoli
Last time we looked at Jesus fulfilling and living up to the requirements of the Mosaic Covenant on behalf of Israel.
• Now we come to the primary reason for Jesus joining us in our humanity, to pay the penalty for mankind’s sin.
• If the incarnation was a humiliating event for Jesus, imagine submitting Himself to the ordeal of the crucifixion.
• If anyone has any lingering doubts about God’s motivation in joining us in our humanity after witnessing the life Jesus lived on our behalf, they should be quickly brushed aside when they learn the ends to which God was willing to stoop in order to prove His love and to restore relationship with His creation.
• Contrary to some depictions of God’s nature, we see the true revelation of the love that burns for His people.
• Philippians 2:6-8 (NLT) Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. 7 He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form.(Miracle of the incarnation) 8 And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross.(Miracle of the atonement).
• If the incarnation was about God drawing near to man, the atonement was about God providing the way for a sinful mankind to draw near to Him.
We now turn our attention to the astonishing events surrounding the atonement.
• Jesus knew the ordeal He was about to face. He inspired Isaiah 52-53. He chose to join humanity when the cross was the method of execution. He walked the streets of Jerusalem and saw on a distant hill the crucified silhouetted against the sky.
• Yet Jesus did not baulk at what lay before Him.
• The apostle John reveals Jesus’ motivation.
• John 10:17-18 (NLT) “The Father loves me because I lay down my life that I may have it back again. 18 No one can take my life from me. I lay down my life voluntarily.
• We see this extraordinary love voluntarily displayed by the Son of God in order for us to be drawn back to God.
• Jesus was simply echoing His own teaching, Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13).
We pick up the story at the last supper.
• The people had welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem as though He was a conquering king.
• Little did they realize the strategy the conquering king was going to employ to set them free?
• It was not the way of force, but of weakness; not war, but peace; not hatred, but love.
• Jesus takes off his robe and washes his disciple’s feet symbolizing in dramatic fashion the difference in approach of His kingdom as opposed to the approach employed by the kingdoms of this world (John 13:1-17; Luke 22:24-27; Philippians 2:1-8).
• Here is the King of Kings washing the feet of mere mortals.
• As Jesus explained to the resistant Peter, there is a need for all sinners to be washed clean of their sins and the one about to do so is kneeling here before you (John 13:6-9).
• Jesus moves back to the table and using simple everyday food items, bread and wine, introduces the New Covenant.
The question needs to be asked, “Why was there a need for a New Covenant?”
• Simply because the first one was not effective! Why?
• Jeremiah 31:31-33“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. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.