Hello! Did you notice that today is a free day on the reading plan? This is a good day to catch up or get ahead!
We are flying through Matthew! I have read this book quite a few times, yet something new always seems to present itself to me. What stood out to you? If you have written a little something everyday in a journal or day-planner, it would be easy to review the week and notice what stood out.
For me, the familiar words we hear almost every month when we are taking communion at church stood out to me in a new way. (This is a 6 minute read.)
Jesus just told his disciples to drink from the cup that He was holding at the Passover meal and explained,
“For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matt. 26:28)
With all the references Matthew gives of Jesus fulfilling Old Testament prophesy, I am reminded that he is writing to a Jewish audience and Jesus is talking to Jewish men sitting around a table having a meal together that is symbolic of the Old Covenant. How remarkable, the statement Jesus made, must have been for all who were sitting at the table!
A “new covenant”…..that made me look deeper into the topic.
We are going to read more about it in the parallel accounts in Luke 22:20 and Mark 14:29. Paul refers to those accounts in 1 Cor. 11:25 and 2 Cor. 3:6 and goes deep into the topic in Roman 6, 8 and 11. The writer of Hebrews also discusses it (chs. 8 & 9) and refers the reader back to Jeremiah 31:31.
“Behold, the days are coming says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah- not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord.” (Jer. 31:31-32)
Wow! Here it was, the moment Jeremiah wrote about 600 years earlier!! Jesus established the new covenant right there at the dinner table!
Every Christian (Christ follower, be it Jew or Gentile) now takes communion to remember the New Covenant.
The writer of Hebrews writes, “In that He (Jesus) says, “A new covenant.” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” (8:13)
That writer was so right! Forty years after Jesus ascended, the sacrificial system at the temple was done way with (vanished-it’s obsolete). It has never been reestablished over the past 2000 years.
At this point, I thought I would give you a little theology lesson to explain two terms. Covenant Theology verse Dispensational Theology. People actually hold different views on this “New Covenant” idea that Jesus presented at the Old Covenant dinner table.
Depending on which theology you subscribe to, you will read the scriptures through different lens. You will read the whole Bible through the lens that you were taught to look through.
Therefore, Covenant scholars look at the whole Bible and say there have been two covenants that God made with his people: The “Convenient of Works” which was in place during Old Testament times and the New Testament period is considered, the “Covenant of Grace.”
In contrast, Dispensational theology teaches that there are seven different time periods (dispensations) that chronologically demonstrate God working with his people in different ways. "Different ways” includes God working with different people groups in different ways. According to dispensational theologians, God is working with Israel in a different way than he is working with Gentiles. So the old covenant is not finished. God is still working with the Jewish people under the Old Covenant.
There is so much information that Biblical scholars have generated to describe these man-made terms and belief systems, it can be overwhelming! Which one is right?
Well, I only threw these two terms out to you, while we are in Matthew, so that you can be aware that there are brilliant scholars in both camps, and perhaps, it has resulted in confusion for you while you are doing your reading.
What I LOVE about this Bible reading plan is that YOU are going to get a very good idea, first hand, of what the original Christians understood about Christ. With this first hand information you can form your opinion from THEM (the OG’s), not the 1000’s of scholars who followed after them.
Remember, it’s not rocket science. You are reading the same Holy Scriptures that scholars read. You can figure it out! There is no hidden meaning behind the words of Jesus. Stick to what the disciples recorded him saying and what Jesus inspired the other writers of the New Testament to write. Stick to what the Bible says, not what an author of another book wrote!
However, if you have questions, feel free to ask them on the blog. We can talk about them and find scripture, together, to answer your questions!!
Have a great day!!