NEW PROVIDENCE BAPTIST CHURCH WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL MANUAL FOR JUNE 2, 2019 : TOPIC – JESUS INSTITUTES THE NEW COVENANT

By | June 2, 2019
NEW PROVIDENCE BAPTIST CHURCH WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL MANUAL FOR JUNE 2, 2019 : TOPIC – JESUS INSTITUTES THE NEW COVENANT
 
 
Topic – Jesus Institutes the New Covenant
 
Devotional Reading: Jeremiah 31:31–34
Background Scripture: Mark 14:12–31; Hebrews 8
Mark 14:17–25
17. And in the evening he cometh with the twelve.

18. And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me.
19. And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I?
20. And he answered and said unto them, It is one of the twelve, that dippeth with me in the dish.
21. The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.
22. And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.
23. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.
24. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.
25. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.
Hebrews 8:6, 7, 10–12
6. But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
7. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
10. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
11. And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
12. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
Key Verse
Now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.—Hebrews 8:6
Lesson Aims
After participating in this lesson, each learner will be able to:
1. Quote from memory Jesus’ words regarding the bread and cup of the last supper.
2. Explain how the lesson texts from Mark and Hebrews interrelate.
3. Develop a plan to make observance of the Lord’s Supper more meaningful.
Lesson Outline
Introduction
A.  A Monumental Explanation
B.  Lesson Context
   I. Covenant Anticipated (Mark 14:17–25)
A.  Enacted Through a Betrayal (vv. 17–21)
B.  Celebrated as a Passover (vv. 22–25)
Food for the Holidays
II. Covenant Described (Hebrews 8:6, 7, 10–12)
A.  Fulfilling Israel’s Covenant (vv. 6, 7)
B.  Making a New People (vv. 10–12)
Carry It with You
Conclusion
A.  How the Lord’s Supper Defines Us
B.  Prayer
C.  Thought to Remember
Introduction
A. A Monumental Explanation
Monuments need explanations. Sometimes a monument has a plaque or inscription that tells us what it commemorates. Always, though, a monument means that an important event took place, one to be remembered in joy or in sorrow. Customs can serve as monuments, reminding people who observe them of great events. Annual holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries include special ceremonies or meals to commemorate events that are important to us. We celebrate these together as families, communities, and nations to share the events’ importance.
What Do You Think?
What are some ways to use secular “monuments” to enhance our commitment to Christ? Or is that even possible? Explain.Digging Deeper
Consider physical monuments (example: tombstone of a famous national leader) as well as those of a nonphysical nature (example: days on the calendar).
Israel’s greatest monuments were its annual feasts, celebrating God’s mighty acts of salvation (Leviticus 23:2–43). Passover was especially notable, commemorating God’s bringing Israel out of slavery in Egypt (Exodus 12:1–13:16; Deuteronomy 16:1–8). As time went on, it became customary to begin that feast with a question to introduce the epic story of Israel’s deliverance: “Why is this night different from all other nights?” The head of the family would then explain, telling the story of Israel’s deliverance.
B. Lesson Context
The story of Jesus eating the Passover meal with His disciples before His death is a turning point in the gospel story. After Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Christ in Mark 8:29, Jesus began warning His disciples of His coming death and resurrection (8:31; 9:31; 10:33, 34). Yet they did not understand these warnings (9:32). For them, the Christ must triumph over His foes militarily, replacing the rule of the Gentile nations with the rule of God (Acts 1:6). Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, when He was given the welcome of a king before the Passover, must have been a high mark of that expectation. Surely Jesus was to be the one to renew David’s kingdom (Mark 11:7–10)!
The Passover that followed a few days later must have been tinged with this expectation. But Passover observances were always both joyous and solemn. Each of its elements was intended to remind participants of God’s triumph over Egypt. For example, bread made without leaven (yeast) was a reminder of the haste with which the meal was prepared in anticipation of leaving the land of slavery (Exodus 12:15, 17–20, 33, 34). The annual celebration of Passover affirmed for Israel that God had liberated them and made them His people (12:42).
The resulting covenant was the expression of God’s actions, promises, and expectations for His people. God’s covenant with Israel had begun with Abraham (then known as Abram; see Genesis 15:18–21) and was affirmed for the entire nation at Sinai (Exodus 24:1–8). But that covenant ended up being broken time and again. A new one was needed.
I. Covenant Anticipated
(Mark 14:17–25)
Jewish leadership schemed to arrest Jesus while He was out of the public eye. As our text opens, they have enlisted Judas to help find Jesus at such a time (Mark 14:1, 2, 10, 11).
A. Enacted Through a Betrayal (vv. 17–21)
17. And in the evening he cometh with the twelve.
The twelve disciples have accompanied Jesus from early days (Mark 3:13–19). It appears likely that Jesus deliberately chose 12 disciples to evoke the regathering of the scattered 12 tribes of Israel, a symbol of God’s bringing the promised new covenant. These 12 show themselves faithful but are often slow to understand or believe Jesus’ words (4:40; 8:31–33; 10:35–45). Yet Jesus intends to eat His final meal with these men, and only them, during Passover.
18. And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me.
The disciples’ failure now approaches a climax in one of their own. Jesus begins solemnly with verily(a translation of the Greek word amen), an expression He uses when announcing warnings or promises (Mark 10:15, 29).
Jesus’ words reveal that the secret plot against His life is no secret to Him. Throughout the story of His arrest, trials, and death, Jesus is in control of events, willingly submitting and never taken by surprise (Mark 14:35–38; John 19:11). Repeatedly He has warned of His death (Mark 8:31; 9:30–32; 10:32–34). Now He anticipates a betrayal that is all too common in Israel’s history (compare Genesis 4:1–12; 37:12–36; Judges 16:18; 2 Samuel 15; 1 Kings 21:8–10; etc.). In this way, He again enters into the fullness of human experience, sparing himself no pain that can be experienced by a person (Philippians 2:8).
19. And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I?
The disciples perceive themselves to be faithful to Jesus regardless of their prior lapses. Their repeated question reflects bewilderment. It is asked in a way that indicates the disciples expect the answer to be “no.”
20. And he answered and said unto them, It is one of the twelve, that dippeth with me in the dish.
In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus’ answer to the disciples’ question leaves all uncertain. Sharing the Passover meal at a common table, they all dip pieces of unleavened bread in the common bowls. John 13:26–30 makes clear who the traitor is, but Mark’s account seems to underline the idea that all of them are potential betrayers.
Visual for Lesson 1. Start a discussion by pointing to this as you ask, “What connection do you see between these transitions and the Lord’s Supper?”
21a. The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him.
Jesus refers to himself as the Son of man more than 80 times in the Gospels. It appears that He uses the phrase to connect His work to the figure in the vision of the prophet Daniel. There “one like the Son of man” establishes God’s rule and destroys the evil kingdoms that have dominated His people (Daniel 7:13, 14).
The phrase emphasizes Jesus’ authority and power as well as His humanity and humility (compare Philippians 2:6–11). Nearer the beginning of His ministry, Jesus used the phrase primarily when asserting His authority as the divine king (Mark 2:10, 11, 28). But after Peter confessed Him to be the Christ, Jesus began to use the phrase to warn of His coming suffering and death (8:31; 9:12, 31; 10:33, 34, 45).
Those predictions are about to be realized. This is in keeping with the prophets who spoke of one who was to be rejected and suffer as God’s servant (Isaiah 52:13–53:12; Zechariah 13:7). This, says Jesus repeatedly, is the climax and fulfillment of God’s plan.
21b. But woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.
God’s purpose does not absolve the betrayer of guilt (see Acts 1:15–25). Judas is not compelled by God to do what God’s plan requires. Even so, the all-knowing, all-powerful God can use Judas’s evil act for good (compare Genesis 50:20). The betrayer, like all humans, remains fully responsible for his actions and so fully subject to God’s judgment.
But that holy judgment stands alongside God’s loving mercy. One disciple will betray Jesus, but all will abandon Him (Mark 14:27–31, 50). Those willing to receive His mercy can be welcomed back—and will be after the resurrection (16:7). The faithful are those who seek and receive Christ’s forgiveness, not those who never need it, as if such people even exist (2:17).
B. Celebrated as a Passover (vv. 22–25)
22. And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.
In Jesus’ time, the host customarily takes the bread and distributes it to the others at the table. But Jesus does so with an unexpected declaration: this is my body. The dividing of a body suggests the cutting up of an animal offered as a sacrifice on the altar of the tabernacle or temple (see Leviticus 1:6, 12). Jesus is thus identifying himself as the supreme sacrificial offering for sins. He takes the place of the sacrificial lamb (compare Exodus 12:3–10, 21–23).
Jesus’ actions also echo His miraculous feeding of great crowds in the wilderness. As at this Passover meal, Jesus had taken the loaves and fish to bless or give thanks before feeding the people (Mark 6:41; 8:6). Those events in sparsely populated areas served as reminders of God’s provision for Israel when He sent manna to feed them in the wilderness (Exodus 16). Jesus’ actions also recall Israel’s expectation of a great feast that celebrates God’s reclaiming the world for himself (Isaiah 25:6–9; compare Matthew 8:11). Now all these events are tied together in Jesus’ impending death and resurrection.
23. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.
Jesus repeats His actions, this time with the cup, the content of which is “the fruit of the vine” (see Mark 14:25, below). At Passover, the host invokes God’s blessing on the guests’ drinking of this in celebration of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. Previously, Jesus had used the word cup as a figure of speech for His impending death. In so doing, He asked the disciples if they were ready to drink of the same cup (Mark 10:38). Now He offers them a literal cup, and the imagery is that they will receive the benefit of His death and follow Him in self-sacrificial service (8:34–38; 10:43–45).
What Do You Think?
What are some ways your church can help people better understand and appreciate the significance of the Lord’s Supper?Digging Deeper
As you consider historical and doctrinal points to emphasize, think also of how to spot false analogies.
24. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.
We easily imagine the disciples are startled as Jesus identifies the contents of the cup with His own blood. Hindsight tells us that shed for many indicates blood to be poured out as that of a sacrificial animal (compare Leviticus 4:7; 1 Peter 1:18, 19). This represents the animal’s life being given to make atonement (Leviticus 17:11). Thus does Jesus frame His looming death in terms that remind us of God’s promise in Isaiah 53:11, 12.
Blood is associated with the covenant that God made with Israel at Mount Sinai. Moses took a basin of blood from a sacrificial animal and sprinkled it on the assembled people of Israel as a sign of God’s covenant (Exodus 24:8). Now Jesus announces a testament (elsewhere translated covenant; see Luke 1:72) that fulfills the intent and promises of the earlier covenants God made with Israel (compare 2 Samuel 7:5–16; Ezekiel 37:24–25). This intent concerns, above all, the forgiveness of sin (Jeremiah 31:34). That forgiveness results in the promised restoration of God’s blessing and the establishment of His rule. All God’s promises converge here (compare Isaiah 2:2; 42:6; 49:6; etc.).
Food for the Holidays
Holiday celebrations often include specific foods as a part of the observance. For instance, in Great Britain on Guy Fawkes Night, British citizens light bonfires and snack on bonfire toffee. Americans eat pumpkin pie almost exclusively at Thanksgiving. In the Philippines, a traditional Christmas dinner includes a whole roasted pig. Some Christians celebrate Shrove Tuesday, the day before the fasting associated with Lent. Depending on where one is celebrating, pancakes, omelets, and various soups might be part of the local culinary tradition.
The Passover meal in first-century Judaism also required specific foods. These included lamb, bitter herbs, fruit of the vine, and unleavened bread. Jesus and His disciples certainly knew the meaning of the food eaten at His final Passover meal. But when Jesus took the bread and the cup, He replaced old significance with new. Are we sure we grasp the full import of that change?
—J. E.
25. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.
Jesus again summarizes the significance of His actions with the solemn invocation verily (see commentary on Mark 14:18, above). To forego the fruit of the vine suggests a significant interruption. What seems hidden from the disciples is clear enough to us in hindsight: Jesus is pointing to His impending death.
Further, Jesus is pointing beyond His death to the establishment of God’s promised rule of justice and peace over the world. Only then will He celebrate again: in the kingdom of God, with all His disciples. Jesus’ actions at Passover are pointing to the celebration in the future when God’s victory is complete and all His people are gathered in celebration (compare Isaiah 2:1–5; Micah 4:1–5).
What Do You Think?
What are some ways we can deepen our awareness of God’s present and future reign while we participate in the Lord’s Supper?Digging Deeper
Consider further how that deepened awareness should influence your walk with Christ daily.
II. Covenant Described
(Hebrews 8:6, 7, 10–12)
The book of Hebrews was written to urge Jewish Christians not to abandon their faith in Jesus as God’s promised king. The book demonstrates how the new covenant in Jesus does greater things than God’s covenant with Israel could do.
A. Fulfilling Israel’s Covenant (vv. 6, 7)
6. But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
To say that Jesus has a more excellent ministry is to compare Him favorably with those who ministered before. He is the true mediator between God and humanity, a priest who is free from sin and so able to make an effective sacrifice of His own life for others (Hebrews 9:11–14).
Therefore, Jesus establishes a better covenant than what had come before. He does not merely point forward to God’s salvation; Jesus’ covenant actually accomplishes salvation (Hebrews 9:15). The promises fulfilled are thus greater as well. God’s people are led not just by God’s king or prophet but by God’s own Son (2 Samuel 7:11–14; Hebrews 7:17–25).
Lasting rest is now possible (see Revelation 14:13; 21:1–4). Such rest is not possible in earthly cities such as Jerusalem. But it is guaranteed in the heavenly Jerusalem, a city built by God. There God will dwell with His people forever (Revelation 21:9–27).
What Do You Think?
How will your understanding of the benefits of God’s covenant promises help you overcome temptations to abandon the Christian faith?Digging Deeper
Consider various contexts in which that temptation might occur (examples: relationship crisis; health crisis; church conflict).
7. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
God did not make a mistake in giving the first covenant. Neither did Moses or the other prophets who delivered and affirmed it. Rather, the old covenant’s problem was that by design it could not rescue people permanently from sin (compare Ezekiel 11:17–20). It was partial, pointing to something greater.
Israel’s failure to keep the old covenant demonstrates that it could not prevent the people from sinning and falling away from faithfulness. Because of their wayward hearts, the Israelites found themselves not blessed by the covenant but instead under the curse of exile (Deuteronomy 11:26–28). The greater covenant to come, brought by Jesus, carries the perfect fulfillment of God’s blessings. It provides the power by which people can genuinely fulfill His purposes in the world (John 14:12–17; 17:1–5).
B. Making a New People (vv. 10–12)
10. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.
Having introduced the concept of a greater covenant, the author of Hebrews quotes from Jeremiah 31:31–34. This text promised Israel that after its exile, God would establish a better covenant. By it we can experience the fulfillment of His purposes.
Jeremiah prophesied of laws written not on stone like the Ten Commandments but on hearts, internalized by covenant members. The lives of His people under the new covenant demonstrate that God is fulfilling His will in them. Christians are a people who show God’s light in a dark world that does not know Him (compare John 1:9–13).
Carry It with You
The early 1990s saw the release of a pocket-size resource titled The U.S. Constitution & Fascinating Facts About It. This booklet became a best-seller. In the weeks preceding the 2016 U.S. election, the demand for pocket-size copies of the Constitution was so great that over 100,000 free copies were distributed by a nonprofit organization. A college went a step further, offering not only free pocket editions but also a free online class on the U.S. Constitution.
As vital as the U.S. Constitution is to American citizens, words of greater importance exist: those of the new covenant. In the new covenant, God did more than make a small version of His laws available for us to carry in our pockets. He promised to write them on our hearts. How do you remember that you carry His covenant with you?
—J. E.
11. And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
Membership in Old Testament Israel was primarily, though not exclusively, a matter of family (Numbers 15:14–16). One was born into the covenant people, and the sign of the covenant, circumcision, was applied to male children eight days after their birth (Genesis 17:10–14). Though they were made covenant members by birth and especially by male circumcision, Israelites still required instruction in their faith (Deuteronomy 6:6–9).
In Jesus, by contrast, the gospel message is the means of incorporation. Those who belong to the covenant belong by faith in the Jesus who is proclaimed in the gospel (Romans 3:21–24; Galatians 2:15, 16). All covenant members are those who already know the Lord. The book of Hebrews of course does not rule out additional instruction for Christ’s followers. The letter itself is additional instruction! But the covenant promised through Jeremiah now has its fulfillment in the community of those who believe the gospel message. (Another viewpoint proposes that the phrase all shall know me points to an ultimate future in Heaven.)
What Do You Think?
Which should be more important to our walk with Christ: knowing God’s laws in our mind, or feeling them in our hearts? Why?Digging Deeper
In what ways, if any, should your response take into account personality differences and/or spiritual maturity? Why?
12. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
The grace that God has always exercised comes to full fruit in this new covenant (Isaiah 43:25). The sin of all humanity has its answer here. By God’s mercy, made available through Christ’s sacrifice, all people can find forgiveness in this new covenant (Matthew 28:18–20; Acts 26:18).
Conclusion
A. How the Lord’s Supper Defines Us
As Passover defined Old Testament Israel as God’s covenant people, so the Lord’s Supper defines Christians. This feast is a way of remembering how God covered our imperfect lives with His perfect mercy by Jesus’ sacrificial death. It represents the connections of mercy, love, and service we have with one another as God’s people. It reminds us of the greater covenant by which we serve as God’s light in the world.
B. Prayer
Lord God, we are filled with thanksgiving to be called Your people! By Your Spirit, empower us to live and serve as those who have been forgiven by the blood of our Lord Jesus. In Jesus’ name, amen.
C. Thought to Remember
God’s fulfilled promises call us to lives filled with Christlikeness.[

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