27 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. 29 “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” 30 After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
In verse 26 we talked about the importance of remembering Christ’s body with bread, that He is the Bread of Life and we should try to take as much of Him in as we can so we can become more like Him. Now we are talking about the blood. Once again we are consuming juice or wine as a representation of Christ’s blood but we must remember that we are covered by the blood. It would be kinda weird in church to have everyone eat a cracker then dump grape juice on their heads, wouldn’t it? But the blood of the New Covenant, as it is referred to, is a reference to God making a new promise with us that is sealed in the blood Jesus shed. Since the beginning of time this has been a very important concept. We see in the Garden of Eden after original sin that God slayed animals to cover Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21). In the time between then and Jesus’ death we see multiple times how pure animals were slain as sacrifices for forgiveness and worship. There is power in the blood, especially innocent blood.
In verse 30, we get a little mention of the disciples singing a hymn together. While Matthew doesn’t tell us what this hymn is, we know the Jews had (have) a tradition on Passover to sing Psalms 115-118. Passover, to sound redundant from the previous post, is a holiday celebrated by the Jews to remember the day that death passed through Egypt and with the covering of the blood over the mantel and the consuming of a pure lamb, the family was kept safe. This was yet another foreshadowing of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice for us. These Psalms reflect His people recognizing this salvation and worshipping Him for saving them:
(115)1 Not to us, O LORD, not to us, But to Your name give glory Because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth. 2 Why should the nations say, “Where, now, is their God?” 3 But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases. 4 Their idols are silver and gold, The work of man’s hands. 5 They have mouths, but they cannot speak; They have eyes, but they cannot see; 6 They have ears, but they cannot hear; They have noses, but they cannot smell; 7 They have hands, but they cannot feel; They have feet, but they cannot walk; They cannot make a sound with their throat. 8 Those who make them will become like them, Everyone who trusts in them. 9 O Israel, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield. 10 O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield. 11 You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield. 12 The LORD has been mindful of us; He will bless us; He will bless the house of Israel; He will bless the house of Aaron. 13 He will bless those who fear the LORD, The small together with the great. 14 May the LORD give you increase, You and your children. 15 May you be blessed of the LORD, Maker of heaven and earth. 16 The heavens are the heavens of the LORD, But the earth He has given to the sons of men. 17 The dead do not praise the LORD, Nor do any who go down into silence; 18 But as for us, we will bless the LORD From this time forth and forever. Praise the LORD!
(116)1 I love the LORD, because He hears My voice and my supplications. 2 Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live. 3 The cords of death encompassed me And the terrors of Sheol came upon me; I found distress and sorrow. 4 Then I called upon the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I beseech You, save my life!” 5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; Yes, our God is compassionate. 6 The LORD preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. 7 Return to your rest, O my soul, For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you. 8 For You have rescued my soul from death, My eyes from tears, My feet from stumbling. 9 I shall walk before the LORD In the land of the living. 10 I believed when I said, “I am greatly afflicted.” 11 I said in my alarm, “All men are liars.” 12 What shall I render to the LORD For all His benefits toward me? 13 I shall lift up the cup of salvation And call upon the name of the LORD. 14 I shall pay my vows to the LORD, Oh may it be in the presence of all His people. 15 Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His godly ones. 16 O LORD, surely I am Your servant, I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid, You have loosed my bonds. 17 To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, And call upon the name of the LORD. 18 I shall pay my vows to the LORD, Oh may it be in the presence of all His people, 19 In the courts of the LORD’S house, In the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!
(117)1 Praise the LORD, all nations; Laud Him, all peoples! 2 For His lovingkindness is great toward us, And the truth of the LORD is everlasting. Praise the LORD!
(118)1 Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting. 2 Oh let Israel say, “His lovingkindness is everlasting.” 3 Oh let the house of Aaron say, “His lovingkindness is everlasting.” 4 Oh let those who fear the LORD say, “His lovingkindness is everlasting.” 5 From my distress I called upon the LORD; The LORD answered me and set me in a large place. 6 The LORD is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me? 7 The LORD is for me among those who help me; Therefore I will look with satisfaction on those who hate me. 8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD Than to trust in man. 9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD Than to trust in princes. 10 All nations surrounded me; In the name of the LORD I will surely cut them off. 11 They surrounded me, yes, they surrounded me; In the name of the LORD I will surely cut them off. 12 They surrounded me like bees; They were extinguished as a fire of thorns; In the name of the LORD I will surely cut them off. 13 You pushed me violently so that I was falling, But the LORD helped me. 14 The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation. 15 The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly. 16 The right hand of the LORD is exalted; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly. 17 I will not die, but live, And tell of the works of the LORD. 18 The LORD has disciplined me severely, But He has not given me over to death. 19 Open to me the gates of righteousness; I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the LORD. 20 This is the gate of the LORD; The righteous will enter through it. 21 I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me, And You have become my salvation. 22 The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone. 23 This is the LORD’S doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. 24 This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it. 25 O LORD, do save, we beseech You; O LORD, we beseech You, do send prosperity! 26 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD; We have blessed you from the house of the LORD. 27 The LORD is God, and He has given us light; Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar. 28 You are my God, and I give thanks to You; You are my God, I extol You. 29 Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Maybe you didn’t quite feel like reading 4 Psalms today, but as we read over the words of these worship songs of old, we can see the glory and wonder of God in recognizing how good He really is to us. The first Psalm recognizes the futility in false gods and idols and that He is the one true God. In 116 we see what God does for us and that we can rest in Him. Psalms 117 & 118 are pure praise as a result of His goodness to us. His goodness to us originates from the power of the blood. It is in His blood that we find rest, comfort, solace, confidence, and power. He has rescued our souls from death.
This is what we remember when we take of the cup representing Jesus’ blood. This New Covenant is a promise from God that we can live in communion with Him again. This is why the tradition of eating bread and drinking wine (juice) is called communion because it is a remembrance of the New Covenant that God made with us through the sacrifice of Jesus. It helps us to remember our relationship with God, how and why it happened, and that we get to rejoice in the Lord because of it! Let’s celebrate the power of the blood together.