With the Passover wine, Jesus declared that the new covenant was here, right now, in Him.
Editor’s Note: The devotions for March 21st, 22nd, and 23rd focus on elements of Passover, which Jesus celebrated with His disciples the night before His crucifixion.
During that initial Last Supper, Jesus took the wine and declared, “This is the blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26:28). Once again, those words would have stunned Jesus’ original hearers. Every Jew knew about a long story of covenants in which God repeated, I will be your God and you will be My people. It sounded good in theory, but one side of that covenant—our side, in case you’re wondering—perpetually botched the deal. So throughout the Bible, God kept promising there would be one more covenant, not to abolish but to fulfill the old one.
Now, with the cup of Passover wine in His hand, Jesus declared the unthinkable: That new covenant was here, right now, in Him. Jesus summarized that covenant in His micro-sermon—“This is My blood ... poured out for many.” It is for you and for me and “for many”—just as Jesus is the lamb “who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
Let’s place ourselves in this scene. Like the disciples, we are the ones who have fallen away. None of us are righteous, and yet we keep defending and promoting our “innocence.” Like all of the disciples, we have or soon will betray the Son of God, and yet there He is, not only eating and drinking with us, but also offering His life, His blood, for us. The words of that long-awaited new covenant from Jeremiah 31:34—“For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more”—are now being fulfilled right before our eyes.
It is a sheer gift that leads to wide-eyed wonder. But with the wine, Jesus also called for our response—“Drink of it, all of you” (Matt. 26:27 ESV). Not “think about it” or “try harder to earn it” but “drink it.” That’s what faith looks like. In other words, like the cup of wine, salvation is there for you. Jesus holds it in His hands and offers it to you. But you must believe it, open your heart, and receive it—all the way down into the center of who you are. So “Drink of it, all of you.”
By Matt Woodley