The New Covenant In My Blood (Luke 22:20) (part 3)

So much for the picture of what is happening at the Supper. Now for its meaning. First, what it means for Christ himself: watch now the face of the Savior as he institutes the New Covenant in his blood. It is the new phase of the covenant he has made with the Father to save a people for his praise. It is also the final phase. It is the last battle that he must wage with the powers of darkness before he can say, “It is finished.”

Comes Christ then in isolation. He preserves his disciples as well as himself for this last hour. But his disciples will not go with him into the valley of the shadow of death. The final stretch of the road he must go alone. He must go this last stretch alone because he must go for them.  They will all forsake him. The Savior knows it. He has predicted it. The prophets too had predicted it: Smite the shepherd and the sheep will flee.” Yet it is for them and for those that through them should believe on him that he would go to the cross.

Then comes the garden. When they had sung that hymn at the conclusion of the Last and First Supper he went into the garden. There he began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Still appealing for sympathy from his disciples he said to Peter and to the sons of Zebedee, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. Tarry here and watch with me.” But they fall asleep. They have not understood the significance of the Supper as he had instituted it. He said to Peter, “What, could ye not watch with me one hour?” So he went away alone. Alone in isolation, Satan, the Pharisees, and Judas plotting against him, the people indifferent, and his disciples falling asleep. Such is the Son of God, the Son of Man.

Yet he is not alone. He turns to the Father in heaven: “Father, if thou will, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven strengthening him.  And being in agony he prayed more earnestly and his sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

“Father, if though be willing, remove this cup from me, but thou are not willing and I am not willing and the Spirit is not willing. I come to do thy will will O Lord. I will drink the cup of suffering to its dregs. That is what I openly pledged myself to thee to to do and thy people too. Abraham, Moses, and Elijah are expecting me to do thy will.”

Now comes the trial. Onward then and forward to the cross. The Christ controls and directs his own trial. He tries those that try him. He reviles no man. He fears no man. He challenges the powers of hell to the final duel. “He came unto his own and his own received him not.” They cried “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate yields and Satan laughs his most Satanic laugh—that one who refused to receive the kingdom at his hand, by a single act of obeisance. some three years ago now receives what is coming to him.

Watch them nail him to the cross. Bar-Abbas too, the one that had just been released from prison, sees Simon of Cyrene bear the cross of him who was altogether too weak and frail now. And he sees those nails driven through his hands and feet. He sees that cross lifted up to the sky and the horrifying heat of the sun and of the fleas. It is all too horrible to behold. See the contortions of agony on his face. Hear him say, “I thirst.” And the sun beats down on his fevered, agonizing flesh.

Then comes the darkness. “Then came darkness upon the face of the earth for the space of three hours from noon til mid-afternoon.” This is the hour and power of darkness. Come forth then all ye that are and shall be bound by chains of darkness forever. A furlough is granted you from hell to attack this pretender that called himself the Son of Man and the Son of  God, who said that he rend the Kingdom from my clutches, as though he any more than any other man could be called the Son of God. Did not Moses say, “The Lord, thy Lord is one Lord”? As though he could establish a Kingdom of Truth as even standing before Pilate he had the nerve to say that he would.

What becomes now of his boast when said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life”? His way is the way unto death. Then too the way of all men will be the way of death. It is the way of death for all men as it is for me. There is no truth and life is life; life unto death. What? Who is the victor now? “Let him save himself,” they say.

Satan also spake through the mouths of the scribes and pharisees to him who hung upon the accursed tree. One of the malefactors at his side, now sure that all was hopeless, snarled at Jesus, “If thou be the Christ, save thyself and us.” The rulers also with the people derided him saying, “He saved others. Let him save himself if he be the Christ, the chosen one God.” All these were but the tools of Satan. It was Satan that spake through their mouths. They spake with the spirit and breath of hell upon their words.

Part 2.

Part 4.

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  • Cornelius Van Til
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    Rev. Cornelius Van Til, PhD (1895–1987) studied at Calvin College (A.B.), Calvin Theological Seminary and at Princeton Theological Seminary, where he earned a Th.M. He earned his PhD at Princeton University. He served briefly in the pastorate but taught apologetics and theology at Westminster Theological Seminary from 1929–1972. The best introduction to his life and work is John Muether, Cornelius Van Til: Reformed Apologist and Churchman.

    More by Cornelius Van Til ›

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3 comments

  1. Dr. Clark,
    Thank you for re-publishing, ‘The New Covenant in My Blood” by C. Van Til. Heb 5, 9, 10 and Matt 26 present a picture of Christ’s complete victory and the end of the types and shadows that I did not see before.

  2. Was it the unrepentant malefactor’s “and us” that started the train of thought that led his fellow to repentance? e.g., “Why should the righteous Messiah rescue US, when His kingdom is a kingdom of righteousness? …”.

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