December 1, 2023
“Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26:26-28)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. It’s one thing to make a promise, that’s easy. Plenty of people make promises. It’s another thing to make a promise and keep it; that’s the hard part. And yet that’s exactly what God does over and over again in His Word. God makes promises and God keeps His promises.
Israel was hungry in the wilderness, God promised to feed them, and God sent manna and quail. God warned His people Israel that their sin of idolatry would lead to exile, and yet, He promised that they would return from exile in Babylon, and God kept his promise. God promised Adam and Eve that there would be a child born of the woman who would crush the devil, and He kept that promise by sending Jesus to live, die, and rise for us.
One of the ways God makes and keeps his promises is by making a covenant with his people. A covenant is God’s promise to do what He says, to keep His word. When God establishes a covenant with His people He is the one who initiates it, sustains it, and fulfills it. Left on our own, we break promises all the time, just like Israel broke God’s covenant of Sinai over and over again. This is why God makes his covenant with us and He keeps it.
This is the way it was for Noah and all creation when God made His covenant never again to flood the earth and put a bow in the sky. And for Abraham when God made His covenant with him that all nations on the earth would be blessed through him. And for David when God made a covenant with him that even though David would die, there would be a ruler who would come from his descendants who would reign forever.
Jesus comes as the promise maker and promise keeper all in one. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is proof that God keeps His promises. Jesus promised to die and rise on the third day, and He did for you. Jesus promises on the night when He was betrayed that the bread in Holy Communion is His body, and the cup of wine is the blood of His covenant, His promise poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins. No wonder St. Paul says that all of God’s promises are yes in Jesus. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Glory be to Jesus, Who in bitter pains. Poured for me His lifeblood From His sacred veins. Grace and life eternal in that blood I find; Blest be His compassion, Infinitely kind. (LSB 433:1-2)
-Pastor Samuel Schuldheisz is pastor at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Milton, WA.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.
Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.