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Summary: Jesus is the new covenant that God promised to his people in Jeremiah 31:31-34. In Jesus, God united us to him with bonds that can never be broken, and through this new covenant, we and Jesus can look death in the eye and see victory.

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Today’s Gospel passage marks the beginning of a change in Jesus’ ministry. The coming of the Greeks is seen as anticipating the coming of the Gentiles into the community of believers. While it is true that before the events in our Gospel reading Jesus spoke to the woman at the well and healed a woman’s daughter, the primary focus of Jesus’ ministry until this point in time was the people of Israel-the Jews. The visit of the Greeks reflected the Pharisee’s statement in verse 19 that the whole world has gone after Jesus. Their arrival prompted Jesus to acknowledge that the hour had come for him to be crucified, and by his death and resurrection, he will draw all people to him, including the Gentiles.

The drawing of all people to Jesus might seem to be ironic given that those who shouted “Hosanna” on Palm Sunday shouted “Crucify him” on Good Friday. Part of the reason is because of the nature of the Messiah that the people were seeking. They were seeking a Messiah who would create an army, drive out the Romans and restore Israel to the glory days of King David. They had no such expectations of the Son of Man. In fact, the title “Son of Man” has none of the militaristic connotations or meanings associated with the title of Messiah.

Jesus sought to downplay those expectations in favour of the expectations of a suffering servant. He has the same expectations of us. He expected the people of his day to be focused on serving others and in return God would bless them. In fact, he served others by healing, teaching and washing the disciples’ feet just before he celebrated the Last Supper with them. During Jesus’ time it was the custom for guests who arrived at a home to have their feet washed by household servants.

Jesus is the new covenant that God promised to his people in Jeremiah 31:31-34. In Jesus, God united us to him with bonds that can never be broken, and through this new covenant, we and Jesus can look death in the eye and see victory. The new covenant is represented by the replacement of the Ten Commandments with Jesus’ two Great Commandments-“Love God and love people”. If we love God and love people, our desire to serve God and others will naturally flow out of this love.

Jesus’ expectations of service are emphasized in Matthew 25:31-46. During our Mid-Week Lenten meditations this year, I along with the rest of the ministry team members have discussed these expectations. We are expected to be faithful even to death and trust that God will glorify us. In order to be glorified by God, we must be prepared to experience suffering first and serve others, just like Jesus served others and suffered on the cross for our sins.

God glorified Jesus when he spoke from heaven. When Jesus became glorified on the cross, Satan was defeated. The forces of opposition were defeated. The barriers that kept people from joining with God were defeated-and that was proven when the temple’s curtain, which separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple, was torn in two.


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