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The New Testament records the account of Jesus’ baptism saying “lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him” (Matt 3:16 KJV). When Jesus saw the heavens open He witnessed a picture of His ultimate purpose for life, the reopening of the heavens to the human race. Jesus establishes the Christian communion supper during the Last Passover Supper with His disciples. Through the details of the bread and wine, He reveals a profound implication for His spiritual passion that shedding His blood in death would restore covenant access to the Father.

Daryl Cox/March 2, 2013

Immediately following His death, the temple veil that hid the Holy of holies divinely rent itself in half from top to bottom. This supernatural act of God proclaimed a new relationship with Him. Humankind now can approach Him on the basis of the blood Jesus Christ shed. God’s presence, formerly hid behind the veil, lives in us through the gift of the Holy Ghost. Jesus promised rest to those who come to Him. His rest flows in them through His Spirit’s abiding presence. The blood Jesus shed and the indwelling of His Spirit establishes and empowers believers to know, live for and worship the Father in spirit and truth.

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(Photo Credit: Wiped the Entrance of the Door, themessiahspurpose.com)

Passover in Egypt

Jesus’ last Passover supper with His disciples holds the key to understanding the events that were to follow. He explains that the supper was more than Israel’s remembrance from their deliverance from slavery in Egypt, rather it foretold the greater reality that Jesus’ death would redeem (Luke 22:16) humanity from the enslavement of sin (Luke 22:16). The slaying of the lamb for the first Passover and the death of Egypt’s firstborn moved Pharaoh to release the Israelites (Exod 12-13). Moses commanded the Israelites to choose a firstborn lamb from among their stocks. After four days of examination, they slayed and ate it. Then, they applied the blood to the two side posts of the door and the overhead while they roasted the whole body with fire. That night, the presence of God moved throughout the land, and wherever He did not find the blood of a lamb placed on the door posts that family’s first-born died. If blood was found, the first-born lived. — This is why people call this Passover. The death of God’s firstborn Son delivers all from sin and death. In Him, He crucifies the old born of Adam and births a new. Upon completion of the supper, Jesus chose two elements to establish the communion supper. Christians are to remember Jesus’ death and His resurrection from the dead by partaking of the massa bread and wine (1 Cor 11:24-25). This supper explains the spiritual realities of Christ’s death that makes possible the blessings of the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants (Matt 1:1). Jesus, God’s chosen passover lamb, releases not just a nation but men and women of all nations from their debt of sin to God (1 Cor 5:7).

Communion Supper

Jesus explained the truths of the bread and wine at the Last Supper. Bread and wine represent two essential truths of His death. In them both, we witness the awesome power of His blood. Communion (Greek: koinōnia) refers to fellowship of the Body of Christ (1 Cor 10:16-17). Baptism in the name of Jesus and of the Holy Ghost makes us partakers of Christ. Regardless of nationalities, we are partakers of one body, Christ. The communion supper teaches us to recognize and respect the racial and cultural distinctions of our brothers and sisters in Christ. The fellowship of the Body rests on what Christ has done in us by His blood and Spirit. Fellowship follows when we allow the Spirit to release us from the inner conflicts and fears that can hinder it. It gives us a new Identity. We are all privileged to be called the sons of God (1 John 3:1-2). This is the fellowship of the Body of Christ. Paul records the words of Jesus saying, the bread of the supper represents His body broken at the cross (1 Cor 11:24). Jesus’ death was a substitutionary sacrifice. In death, He bore our judgment for sin. He gave us righteousness for justification through His resurrection (Rom 4:24-25). The cup of wine represents the New Testament in Christ’s blood. Jesus made the New Covenant possible because He shed His blood for humankind and served justice for every transgression committed by them. This covenant is not a relationship written in stone as the Law. It is a relationship provided in the person of Jesus Christ. He is the New Covenant, its provision and inheritance. The new relationship is union to Christ through the Holy Ghost (Gal 3:26-29). His blood is the provision needed to put away our sin and stand with acceptance before God. Isaiah 49:8 says,

“Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages.”

This passage relates to the Messiah. God preserved Him when He raised Him from the dead — given in death for a covenant of the people. Jesus restored our relationship with God to recover man’s spiritual and natural inheritance. The Apostle Paul uses the expression in Christ. This means union with Christ through a new relationship.

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(Photo Credit: Blood of the Lamb, galengreer.com)

Precious Blood

Acts 20:28 says that God purchased the Church with His own blood. Why is the blood of Jesus powerful? What makes it efficacious? God being a Spirit does not have blood (John 4:24). When the Word from John 1:1-14 was made flesh, the incarnation provided the way for God to have human blood. Leviticus 17:11 says “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: For it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” The blood of Jesus contains the life of the eternal God. Though Christ is human, He also is God. His blood has a life that is superior to both humans and angels. Freely offered up in death, it gives God the legal right and ability to release us from the slavery of our sinful nature and sentence of death. The status and destiny of every man and woman, including the creation, was drastically altered. Christ did not receive the fallen nature that humankind inherited through Adam’s blood. Instead, God created His own blood. The eternal life inherent within enables it to take away the sins of the world.

The Hebrew word for atonement, kaphar, means to cover by way of appeasement; to cancel out; to purge; to make reconciliation. [1]  Jesus shed His blood in death to reconcile our sins. Hebrews 9:14 makes an interesting point: “How much more surely shall the blood of Christ, Who by virtue of [His] eternal Spirit [His own preexistent divine personality] has offered Himself as an unblemished sacrifice to God, purify our consciences from dead works and lifeless observances to serve the [ever] living God?” (AMP).  God offered a sinless life for us through the death of Jesus for our sins.  Jesus’ life was human, but He also had the element of eternal Spirit and divine nature that makes the price for our redemption more than adequate. Scripture terminated the need for ceremonial observances of the Law because Jesus paid the price for our redemption. Though God ordained the observances prior to the coming of Christ, they effectively could not deal with the real issue, sin. The blood of God in Christ was the answer for our redemption. God’s execution of wrath upon Jesus spares us from eternal damnation and restores fellowship to us with the Father and one another.

Chosen People

Paul states that blood of God purchased the Church provided through the incarnation. Christ died not only for our sins, but to also make us His people. In 1 Peter 1:2, Scripture reads “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” Prior to Creation and Adam’s fall, God chose us to be His people, the elect. Foreseeing Adam’s fall, God chose us in Christ above the calling in Adam. For this to become a reality, two things needed to occur: the blood of Jesus had to be shed and sprinkled both in heaven and over our lives along with the outpouring of the Holy Ghost. Peter further imparts that the blood and the Spirit work in tandem to sanctify us as God’s elect (chosen). The word sanctification means to make holy or morally pure; to be consecrated (dedicated exclusively) to service.[2] Peter describes a transformation that occurs when believers of the Gospel are washed in the blood by water baptism and filled with the Spirit (1 Cor 6:11). In conjunction with repentance, the twofold experience separates us from the sins of our past and the enslavement of the sinful nature from birth. We become God’s exclusive possession. He separated us completely to Him. Our walk should be one of devotion and service to Him. Sanctification involves the initial act of separation upon the new birth, but it continues throughout our life in obedience to God’s will. Obedience produces maturity of character and results in fruitfulness and the pleasing of the Father. What God ordained before the foundation of the world, the death of Jesus established in the Kingdom of God and the Holy Spirit makes a reality in us. Paul says the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ seals us as His possession, fit to stand and minister in His presence (Rom 8:9, Eph 1:13).

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(Photo Credit: Nothing but the Blood, fatene.ca)

Nothing but the Blood

The New Covenant features the two unique feature of remission from sins and baptism of the Holy Ghost. Because of these two features, the New Testament stands above all prior covenants of the Old Testament as an everlasting covenant established with the precious blood of Christ (Heb 13:20). The animal sacrifices commanded by the Law of Moses did not have the power to take away sins. We should observe three points from the sacrificial offerings of the law. First, each year there was a remembrance of all sins which made the worshipers continually aware of their sinfulness. Second, the offerings taught us that without the shedding of blood there could be no remission of sin (Heb 9:23). Third, all those offerings foretold the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ whose blood would take away the sin of the world. The word remission means to forgive, to cancel out, to send or wash away.[3]  Until Christ’s death, God could not purge sin (Rom 3:25, Heb 1:3; 10:1-3). God forgave and justified His people by faith under the Old Covenant, while looking forward to the coming of His chosen one Whose death would take away the sin of the world. Under the New Covenant, God forgives sin with the new feature of its remission, while looking back at the death of Jesus. The Apostle Peter explains that all the prophets testified that remission of sins would come through the name of the Messiah (Acts 10:43). For this reason He commanded people be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38). The name of Jesus administered in water baptism is the means of experiencing the cleansing power of the blood of Christ shed over two thousand years ago.

Victory for All

The death and resurrection of Christ forever removed our sins from the presence of the Father.  By this one act, Christ destroyed the powers of darkness that governed our lives. Scripture foretold, through the prophet Hosea, saying, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes” (Hos 13:14 KJV). When Jesus was on that cross, He was made sin for us. He became what we were before God allowed death to have dominion over Him. When He rose, He destroyed death’s dominion, not for Himself, but for everyone. Death no longer has dominion over Him or His redeemed. Jesus’ crucifixion upon the cross abolished death’s power over Him and His people. Jesus redeemed us and all the people of faith before the cross from sin and death. Matthew records a great earthquake and resurrection of many Old Testament saints as a sign and witness to us of our victory over death with Christ (Matt 27:52-53). Christ’ s death shook the foundations of both this world and hell. He removes authority from the powers of darkness over our lives and frees us from the law of sin and death. He takes away our condemnation and gives us righteousness and eternal life by His Spirit that empowers us to walk worthy of Him. Christ’s death and resurrection is a victory for all the families of the earth. Those who repent and obey the Gospel will become partakers of His victory. According to Jesus, believers passed from death to life (John 5:24). The word of God promises a continued victory over sin and its fruits to the people of God while in this world. The time nears when infirmity, sickness and death will no longer be a part of the human experience. The Church looks for the return of Christ. When this occurs, our bodies will change from a mortal and corruptible state to an immortal and incorruptible state (1 Cor 15:51-53). Now, we are the sons of God, and the Spirit of God gives us boldness (confidence) to approach God in the times of need and worship (Heb 4:16). Jesus overcame the world, sin and death. He gives us that victory and promises to multiply it to those who seek to overcome.

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(Photo Credit: Tongues of Fire, scotwise.blogspot.com)

Receive Ye the Holy Ghost

By way of the Christian communion supper at the last Passover meal, Jesus revealed the reality of His death and resurrection. The brokenness of His body would be for our transgressions and the shedding of His blood would be for the remission of our sins and the establishing of the New Testament personified in Himself. Jesus was God manifested in flesh to be our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption (1 Cor 1:20-31). The sacrifice of His life was the ransom for a new relationship with God. He was condemned for the sins of the world that we take His place in righteousness before God. All that He is and possesses as a Son is ours through His name and His Spirit (Eph 1:3). This fulfills the Scripture that in Abraham’s seed all nations of the earth would be blessed (Gen 22:18). Salvation is in the name of Jesus. Baptism in the name of Jesus and the infilling of the Holy Ghost make us partakers of Christ’s divine nature, His calling and inheritance, the fellowship of His sufferings and the power of His resurrection. His death makes possible victory for everyone who believes and obeys the Gospel given to us by the apostles (Acts 2:38). We must seek to know Him that we may walk worthy of Him. The name of Jesus and the baptism of the Holy Ghost imparts us with His life and victory that makes us free from the law of sin and death (Rom 8:1-4). God ‘s presence within the Holy of holies now lives in us as the Holy Ghost by the shed blood of Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the dead. Being baptized with the Holy Ghost is promised to all. With the heaven now open to us we can be fruitful in every good work until Jesus returns.

Pastor Daryl Cox

About the Author. Pastor Cox is one of the faculty members at All Nations Leadership Institute (ANLI), as well as an assistant pastor at Lighthouse Church of All Nations. As one of the ANLI staff members, he teaches From Calling to Covenant: The Story of David and Jesus Across the Gospels.

All Nations Leadership Institute prepares and equips men and women for ministry in an urban, multicultural environment. It offers a wide array of classes in theology and leadership. Affiliated with Lighthouse Church of All Nations, the Institute hallmarks bridging the gap leadership.

ENDNOTES

[1] Blue Letter Bible, Atonement, BLB Lexicon, n.p. [cited 1 March 2013] Online: http://www.blueletterbible.org/search/lexiconc.cfm?Criteria=atonement&st=any

[2] Bible Suite.com, Consecration, Bible Suite Lexicon, n.p. (cied 1 March 2013] Online: http://biblesuite.com/greek/38.htm

[3] Blue Letter Bible, Remission, BLB Lexicon, n.p. [cited 1 March 2013] Online: http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?strongs=G859