And because He suffered for us and not for Himself, He could remain forsaken of God. Thus He was not hopeless, because of an endless death, when He cried, “It is finished.” It was finished. He was again accepted of the Father. His sacrifice for His own was accepted of the Father. Satan is now defeated. Through His suffering, through His blood, He brought in the everlasting Covenant. The powers of hell have been forever defeated. The hour and the power of darkness is over. The Prince of Life will not be beholden of the grave. Death will have no final dominion of Him. For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted. Neither hath he hid His face from Him, but when He cried unto Him, He heard.
Now a seed shall serve Him, it shall be counted to the Lord for a generation. They shall come and shall declare His righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that He hath done this.
What then does it mean for His people? And now for the disciples, what did the supper mean to them? Their hearts were filled with sorrow when He had spoken of leaving them, but Jesus said “It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away, the comforter will not come unto you. But if I depart, I will send Him unto you.” This comforter this Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. He will take the things of Christ and give them to His disciples and to His people.
Had they been looking for a place of honor in the Kingdom that Jesus was to establish on this earth? Instead, they will receive a place of honor as they tell forth His death til He comes. “Ye shall be my witnesses, ye alone of all men enlightened by the Spirit will remember me in my death. Ye will now understand the meaning of the blood and the New Covenant. Ye will now, directed by the Spirit of Truth and of comfort, speak to all men everywhere of that only name which is given under heaven by which men must be saved. You will tell all men everywhere that through the blood the New Covenant forgiveness of sins and everlasting life is given for those who put their trust in Him.”
How well Peter and the other Apostles did remember the death of Christ. Released from prison and told by the angel of the Lord to stand in the temple to speak to all the people the words of this life, they were there early in the morning. They now spoke to the people of the meaning of the life and death of Jesus the Christ. Had he spoken of this temple and said of it that He would break it down and in three days build it up again? This is precisely what He had done. He had finished this, His work, and therefore He was risen again and therefore He was glorified.
Now listen to Peter as He stands before the Jewish council: “The God and Father raised up Jesus Christ, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a prince and a savior for to give repentance unto Israel and forgiveness of sins, and we are witnesses of these things, and so also is the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him.”
Peter now knew what had really happened on that Cross. He now new what Jesus had meant when He said, “This is the New Covenant in my blood.” He now knew that then this Jesus who had looked so deeply into his eyes when he betrayed Him, had suffered the agonies of hell for him, when He was, for him, forsaken of God. Peter now knew that this was finished, that true forgiveness of sins through that shed blood may be preached to all men. The fear of death for himself had now disappeared. Whatever the council might say or do, they, Peter and the other Apostles, ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ daily in the temple and in every house.
Paul too, though an Apostle born out of due time, new what the blood of the New Covenant meant when he said that he was “determined to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Yes, he spoke of Jesus and the resurrection. He spoke of him who is the Prince of Life, who has brought life and immortality to light, but he could do this only because on the accursed tree Christ had been made a curse for him. Christ and Him crucified, and therefore Christ and the resurrection was the subject of Paul’s teaching and preaching all his time.
The church has done this same thing through the ages. Luther preached the New Testament in His blood. Calvin preached the New Testament in His blood. Machen preached the New Testament in His blood. Ned B. Stonehouse preached the New Testament in His blood. We must do so until life shall cease or until time shall be no more. And as we do so, then we are strengthened in our faith and for our task. As we partake of the supper, it will be to us a memorial of what He said when the Saviour instituted it. It will also be to us symbol and seal of the truth and certainty of the forgiveness of our sins through His finished work on the cross. And it will finally be to all of us a prophecy of that final day when we shall eat the supper of the lamb with all His people in His presence forever.
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