March 18, 2016

Jesus is the Lord of a New Covenant (Palm Sunday)

The readings are preparing us for the Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Experience. The Readings remind us that Jesus had great courage in facing opposition, modelled humility and obedience and made a New Covenant of forgiveness with believers. This New Covenant includes the Ten Commandments but adds the possibility of forgiveness through repentance and faith in the shed blood of Jesus. The Readings help us understand that Jesus is more than a teacher of goodness. Jesus is the Lord of a New Covenant relationship with God. As we prepare ourselves for the Easter experience it is a good time to examine our lives for evidence of humility and obedience to our half of this New Covenant – which is our Baptismal Covenant.

1. Have you “set your face like flint”?

If we are serious about keeping our Baptismal Covenant we should expect persecution. We live in a self-centred time when very few people recognize Jesus as the Lord of a New Covenant.
  • Admire His teaching and sacrifice; but they want to be the lord of their own lives – me generation
  • Being a servant to others is not attractive to most people
  • Christians who are really loyal to Jesus act differently than most people - leads to fear, ridicule and persecution.
  • People feel uncomfortable around those who are different
  • Phrase “set my face like flint” shocked me – realized my calling was to be different – and stand firm against popular culture
  • Question for self-examination before Confession is “Have I really set my face like flint?” 
 2. nd question is do I have the “nature of a servant”? (Phil. 2.7)
Having the right theology is good and interesting but it is not as important as what we do every day in our lives.
  • Jesus modelled the nature of a servant, giving up what he wanted to do in order to be obedient to His Lord God.
  • This is the key test of really having a “lord”.
  • We should all examine our past week and repent any opportunities we missed to be in a servant role to others.
  • This will strengthen our determination to become more like Jesus and to grow spiritually.
 3. A third question is “how have I betrayed Jesus this week”?
We all betray Jesus in little ways every day. We skip our prayers, forget to say thanks or deny Him by our choices in daily life. Being in a covenant relationship is all about loyalty and priorities.
  • Judas is the big example of betrayal
  • Judas thought Jesus was moving too slowly, wanted to help things along.
  • People who “help” can do a lot of harm.
  • “The smart one”, Judas was the only Disciple who did not see who Jesus was as his Lord.
  • Others at Last Supper address Jesus as “Lord” -. Judas says “Surely not I Rabbi” (Matthew 26.25).
  • Judas betrays Jesus because he thinks Jesus is a teacher - not his personal Lord.
  • Asking ourselves how - not if, we have betrayed Jesus in the last week will give us a helpful measure of whether we have really accepted Jesus as the Lord of a new Covenant.
The Good News is that believers live in a New Covenant relationship with Jesus
We have been blessed with a new way to forgiveness and peace with God through the self-examination, repentance, Confession and Absolution process.
  • Forgiveness is dependent on our belief or faith or trust in the events we are about to share in Holy Week.
  • On Maundy Thursday we will be reminded of the Last Supper.
  • Was a Jewish Passover meal that Jesus turned into a New Covenant meal that we continue to celebrate as Holy Communion or “Eucharist” (which means “celebration”).
  • Good Friday will remind us of the terrible price Jesus paid for our sins – how firmly He “set His face like flint”.
  • This is a very good time to do a complete self-examination of our lives to root out our hidden sins and guilt so we can go through the Confession and absolution process and be more completely forgiven and restored to right-relationship with God in the New Covenant.
 We will grow spiritually as we recognize Jesus as the Lord of a New Covenant

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