The Lord says this: ‘Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. For six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath for the Lord your God. You shall do no work that day, neither you nor your son nor your daughter nor your servants, men or women, nor your ox nor your donkey nor any of your animals, nor the stranger who lives with you. Thus your servant, man or woman, shall rest as you do. Remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord your God brought you out from there with mighty hand and outstretched arm; because of this, the Lord your God has commanded you to keep the sabbath day.’
2 Corinthians 4:6-11
It is the same God that said, ‘Let there be light shining out of darkness’, who has shone in our minds to radiate the light of the knowledge of God’s glory, the glory on the face of Christ.
We are only the earthenware jars that hold this treasure, to make it clear that such an overwhelming power comes from God and not from us. We are in difficulties on all sides, but never cornered; we see no answer to our problems, but never despair; we have been persecuted, but never deserted; knocked down, but never killed; always, wherever we may be, we carry with us in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus, too, may always be seen in our body. Indeed, while we are still alive, we are consigned to our death every day, for the sake of Jesus, so that in our mortal flesh the life of Jesus, too, may be openly shown.
One sabbath day Jesus happened to be taking a walk through the cornfields, and his disciples began to pick ears of corn as they went along. And the Pharisees said to him, ‘Look, why are they doing something on the sabbath day that is forbidden?’ And he replied, ‘Did you never read what David did in his time of need when he and his followers were hungry – how he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the loaves of offering which only the priests are allowed to eat, and how he also gave some to the men with him?’
And he said to them, ‘The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath; the Son of Man is master even of the sabbath.’
He went again into a synagogue, and there was a man there who had a withered hand. And they were watching him to see if he would cure him on the sabbath day, hoping for something to use against him. He said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Stand up out in the middle!’ Then he said to them, ‘Is it against the law on the sabbath day to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to kill?’ But they said nothing. Then, grieved to find them so obstinate, he looked angrily round at them, and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out and his hand was better. The Pharisees went out and at once began to plot with the Herodians against him, discussing how to destroy him.
“This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.”
I have recently been trying to teach my son about making and keeping promises. It still needs some work, but so far, we have been making promises with the linking of our pinkies, and for the ultimate important promises, sealing the pinky promise with a kiss. He knows that if he breaks a promise, he will break his mama’s heart (or at least that is what I tell him).
The covenants in the times of the Old Testament were sealed with blood, through the sacrifice of the first of the flock for the atonement of sin. “Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness” says Hebrews 9:22. A life for a ‘new’ life, cleansed by sacrifice.
As we are reminded annually on Holy Thursday, right into Good Friday, Jesus became that sacrificial lamb for us. It was His blood that was shed for our sins, His blood that sealed the covenant for our salvation, and His body that was broken that we may have a new life in God. We are cleansed by the spilling of His holy blood.
When we partake in the Eucharist, we remember the price that was paid for our lives, a price that is not to be taken lightly. If we proceed forth to receive the Eucharist nonchalantly, then are we honorably acknowledging the price of our redemption? Are we worthy of our share in the Lord’s Supper? 1 Corinthians 11:27 puts it very simply that “therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.” We are called to reflect inwardly on our conduct and manner, to examine ourselves – are we in a position that warrants our partaking in this sacred covenant?
This is not so different from what we tell our children about making and breaking promises. God sealed His promise to us with His Son, and the Lord knows that if we break that promise, we will break His heart.
(Today’s Oxygen by Annette Soo)
Prayer: Lord, we pray for the Holy Spirit to cleanse us that we may be made worthy of Your promises.
Thanksgiving: Thanks be to God, for His Holy Covenant with us sinners!