Holy Week: Matthew’s account

Last year during Holy Week, I used the “Harmony of the Events of Holy Week” chart in the ESV Study Bible to get a better understanding of the week of Christ’s death and resurrection.

I found this timeline recently and it visualizes the events of the week.

This year I plan to read straight through each of the gospel accounts of the events of Holy Week and focus on the promises of new life in Christ because of His death and resurrection. Today I read Matthew 26-28, and one passage that stood out to me was Matthew 26:26-28. This part of the Passover meal, which we now remember as the Lord’s Supper, pictures Christ’s sacrificial suffering for our sins. The bread was broken, representing Christ’s body which was broken for us. The cup represents His blood spilled out as atonement for the sins of His people. I’m reading in my ESV Study Bible and the notes point out that when Christ took the cup, it was probably “the cup of blessing, or the cup of redemption–corresponding to God’s third promise in Ex. 6:6: “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment.”

I also noticed today that Christ said “this is my blood of the covenant.” The study notes reference Jeremiah 31:

31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD, ‘for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Jesus Christ has made a new covenant with His people. We do not have to make a sacrifice for every sin we commit, because Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for all of our sins. This new covenant doesn’t require following a list of rules, but involves complete heart change. We receive complete forgiveness because God’s wrath was satisfied with Christ’s death on our behalf. I love the promise of I Thessalonians 5:9-10: those who believe in Christ will live eternally because Jesus Christ bore the Father’s wrath, suffered death, rose again, and now lives eternally.

9For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.

I listened to Keith and Kristyn Getty’s hymn “Behold the Lamb” this afternoon, and it corresponds perfectly to this passage and what I’ve been thinking about today.

Behold the Lamb who bears our sins away,
Slain for us – and we remember
The promise made that all who come in faith
Find forgiveness at the cross.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of peace
Around the table of the King.

The body of our Saviour Jesus Christ,
Torn for you – eat and remember
The wounds that heal, the death that brings us life
Paid the price to make us one.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of love
Around the table of the King.

The blood that cleanses every stain of sin,
Shed for you – drink and remember
He drained death’s cup that all may enter in
To receive the life of God.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of grace
Around the table of the King.

And so with thankfulness and faith we rise
To respond, – and to remember
Our call to follow in the steps of Christ
As His body here on earth.
As we share in His suffering
We proclaim Christ will come again!
And we’ll join in the feast of heaven
Around the table of the King

Words and Music by Keith and Kristyn Getty
& Stuart Townend

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