We’ve recently studied the book of Exodus as a church. In Exodus, God gives the people of Israel his law. Moses presents these laws to the people as a Covenant (an agreement with God) they must obey.
Exodus 24:7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.”
After the people agree to these terms, God invites Moses and the leaders of Israel to a special meal to ratify the covenant. This is one of my favorite passages.
Exodus 24:9-11 Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.
The leaders of Israel see God, and they eat and drink in his presence as a way to affirm this agreement with God. But over the next 1400 years, people break God’s covenant through their disobedience. This is why God sends Jesus Christ, God’s special Son, into the world to make a New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34). It’s a new agreement between God and people that offers complete salvation to any who will trust in Jesus. What does Jesus do to ratify this covenant? He invites his twelve disciples to a meal.
Matthew 26:26-28 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
The disciples ate and drank, affirming this New Covenant with Jesus. Today as you eat and drink, I want you to think about several things:
- By eating and drinking, we affirm the New Covenant. If you participate, you’re saying, “I believe in Jesus, I affirm the New Covenant, I want to obey.” If you’re a believer, you’re welcome to partake. You don’t have to be a member of Cornerstone to eat, but you do need to be a member of the New Covenant community, a disciple of Jesus, a Christian.
- We encounter God’s presence at the meal. Moses ate this meal in God’s presence at Sinai, the disciples ate in Jesus’ presence at the Last Supper, and we eat in the Son of God’s presence spiritually today (Eph. 2:6). So let’s quiet our hearts and focus on Christ.
- We should not partake in an unworthy manner. Nadab and Abihu ate this meal at Sinai, but were later struck down by God for disobedience (Lev. 10). Judas ate this meal at the Last Supper, but hanged himself because he betrayed Jesus (Matt. 27:5, Mark 14:21, Gal. 3:13). Paul warns us not to partake if we don’t believe or are actively disobeying God (1 Cor. 11:28).
God ratified both the Covenant at Sinai and the New Covenant with meals. Today we approach this meal once more. If you can affirm the New Covenant, want to encounter Christ’s presence today, and have confessed only Christ makes you worthy, join me in this. Let’s pray.
Pastor Jonathan Romig wrote this reflection for our monthly taking of Communion. Please read this as a way to prepare your hearts for the upcoming meal.