Summary: Jesus’ coming into the world is the climax of the biblical story of God’s redemptive work.
THE NEW COVENANT ESTABLISHED BY THE COMING KING
Valentine’s Day yesterday.
Not in the Christian calendar – It’s origins are from the time of Roman Emperor Claudius II who murdered a Christian priest in Rome (St Valentine) for conducting weddings in secret for soldiers and their betrothed (Claudius was being very strict with the soldiers and what the priest was doing went against the strategy of the Emperor). It happened on Feb 14th – the day of a pagan festival)
It seems that men sometimes need a bit of a nudge to be romantic, and Valentine’s Day is a good excuse.
This is a timely point in our series on the drama of Scripture to focus on the love of God.
Last Sunday morning we raced through the events that took place between the testaments and discovered how these events informed the meaning of the phrase, ‘Kingdom of God’.
When both John the Baptist and Jesus used the expression, the people who listened knew what they were describing. The long awaited Messiah had arrived, and the Good News of the Kingdom had come - a new beginning had dawned that would lead to salvation and to the redemption of all creation.
Jesus himself was about to decree a NEW COVENANT with the people – a covenant sealed with his own blood in death.
This is the focus our service this morning as we gather around the communion table and remember the greatest expression of love that was ever made.
THESIS Jesus’ coming into the world is the climax of the biblical story of God’s redemptive work.
READING Mark 1:14-20
"The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"
‘The time has come’ Jesus said
Time is a strange phenomenon. Our sense of the passing of time varies from slow to very swift. And we use the word ‘time’ in different ways.
The Greeks have two words that describe time. Chronos and Kairos
• Chronos = the passing of time
• Kairos = that a moment has arrived.
And it will be no surprise to you to learn that the word used here is Kairos –
• not the blowing of a whistle when the match has ended,
• but an era that people were expecting that has now finally arrived.
When Jesus said ‘The time has come….‘The kingdom of God is near’ he was describing a kingdom that was near enough to be accessible rather than still some way off in the future.
• We could say that the kingdom HAS come, the kingdom IS coming and that the kingdom SHALL come, i
• n the same way that we as Christians HAVE been saved, ARE being saved, and SHALL be saved
This was the Good News they had been waiting for. By repenting and believing they too could be saved.
How many of you understand that our Bible is described by two covenants – and old one and a new one?
• Old Testament means Old Covenant
• New Testament means New Covenant
• The Hebrew Scriptures which we know of as the Old Testament
• and the Greek manuscripts we know of as the New Testament.
The biblical story before the interval between the testaments describes God’s preparation for the climax we meet in the New Testament in the coming of Jesus.
• Whereas God had entered into a covenant with his people the Jews,
• now God makes a new Covenant through the blood of Christ with all who believe – Jews and Gentiles alike.
As we break bread together this morning we experience a kairos moment – a moment when, in a sense, the past and the present merge together – as we do this in remembrance of our Lord.
1. JESUS DECREED A NEW COVENANT AT THE FEAST OF THE PASSOVER
At the feast of the Passover believers commemorated the time the angel of death passed over the homes of the Hebrews in Egypt so that their firstborn children did not die.
The Hebrews observed the instruction they had received from God to kill a lamb and to daub its blood on the doorposts and thresholds of their homes.
Jesus is referred to in 1 Cor. 5:7 as the as the Passover lamb
“For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed”
Let’s read together what Jesus said when he observed the Passover with the disciples:
READING Matthew 26:17-29
It was as Jesus recalled the old that he introduced the new.
Can we imagine what it was like on the day Jesus met with the disciples to celebrate the Passover?
– It was 25th April in the year 31 AD