And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood." (Luke 22:20)
"Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me, yet not My will, but Thine be done." (Luke 22:42)
But Jesus said to them,"You do not know what you are asking for. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" (Mark 10:38)
All the ordinances of God are holy, and the holiest most certainly must be the ordinance of communion. The Lord told us to remember Him through the ordinance of communion. He brings us to His table to eat of His flesh and drink of His blood.
As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew, and were not walking with Him anymore. (John 6:66)
There is a mystical dimension to the communion table. To open the door to revelation we must lay down our pre-conceived understanding of His cup. We must realize that we are not coming to a table set by the tradition of men. The covenant cup was established by Jesus Christ and no one else.
"For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink." (John 6:55)
It is customary to believe that His cup, like the wine or juice, is sweet. We come to the table asking for forgiveness. As we drink from the communion cup, we remember what He did for us. We remember the stripes and the death and, of course, the resurrection. We come with positive expectations and a degree of selfishness.
We tend to forget that by His own words, Jesus told us the cup is a covenant cup. We need spiritual eyes to see what that really means. There is a cost involved in covenant with Christ.
Every time we take communion, we renew our covenant. We tell Jesus we are willing to lay down all our fleshly and earthly desires. Even our desire for wholeness and our desire to work for Him must be laid at His feet. Our covenant relationship means that everything that belongs to us, belongs to Him.
When He asks if we are willing to partake of His cup, we must hear what He is calling us to. His invitation is to come to the table out of covenant relationship. When we understand this, we see that His cup on this earth is not always sweet, it is sometimes bitter. The covenant is a solemn covenant, not just to remember Him, but to follow Him, regardless of the cost.
We are covenanting to be filled with Him and emptied of ourselves. We are to let Him live His life, His death and His resurrection through us. He asks if we are willing and able to taste the worldly bitterness He tastes, to feel the agony He feels for the lost.
Are we willing to be persecuted and hated for His namesake?
Are we willing even to give up our lives for Him?
Are we willing to die daily? (1 Corinthians 15:31)
Not many of us come to the communion table with that covenant in mind. And we cannot enter into such a covenant relationship with Jesus on the strength of our own flesh. We can come only by the power of the Spirit. This means an inner decision has been made to abandon personal desires and to focus solely upon Him.
Those of us who are willing must leave all earthly things behind. We are to put our hand in His and keep our eyes fixed on Him, even as we drink of the cup. The covenant table is set for only a few. Not many are willing to leave the security of the physical and enter the spiritual place to which He draws us.
We have been redeemed by His blood and cleansed by His blood. Because of His blood, we have eternal life. Life is in the blood, and He gave His life as His part of the covenant. When we eat and drink of His body and blood, we accept His blood sacrifice and we ratify the blood covenant. We confess our faith and our loyalty to the strongest, most sacred covenant known to the human heart.
When Israel broke their covenant relationship with God:
the heavens became brass and the earth became iron;
rain turned to dust;
they were defeated by their enemies;
the great city of Jerusalem was totally destroyed;
the magnificent temple was torn completely apart;
they were carried away to Babylon as slaves.
God obligates Himself to us when we covenant with Him, but we obligate ourselves to Him, also. God keeps His covenant and He expects us to do likewise. The moment a covenant is solemnized, everything one covenant partner owns is at the disposal of the other. No one is to take advantage of a covenant or to break it, it is perpetual. When we covenant with God, only we can break it, He never will.
Israel broke the Old Covenant, which nullified it. Jesus, therefore, established a New Covenant in His blood. That is the covenant we recognize and ratify when we take communion.
We say, "Jesus, I drink of Your cup, and I covenant with You that I lay down my life for You, just as You laid down Your life for me. I push my selfish desires away and give You priority. You have access to anything I own, including my own self."
Most of us don't have this in mind when we take communion. We go through the motions of fulfilling a ritual required by our church. Some of us do it daily or weekly, some once a month, but it makes no difference. The intention behind the ordinance can be lost in the ritual. It doesn't occur to us, perhaps we have never been taught, that we are sharing a cup with Jesus, the contents of which could be difficult to swallow.
We should pray about our next communion. We should ask our Lord what He expects from us as our part of the covenant. Then, when we partake of His body and His blood, we will be aware of the transaction taking place between Him and us. We will realize it is perpetual, and that He will never break it.
Are we able to drink of His cup? We may not feel like it, but we are able if we give Him kingship over our lives. Remember, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. (Philippians 4:13)
Jesus is King!
P.S. What are you doing of eternal value?
Question for today: Do I have a true covenant relationship with Jesus?