Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent – March 16, 2015

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 31:31-34

“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,”
– Jeremiah 31:31

God promises a “new” covenant. The implication in this verse is that there was an “old” covenant. The “old” covenant that will be replaced is the one that God made with Moses on Mt. Sinai. The “old” covenant was the Ten Commandments and the Law. The giving of that covenant was accompanied by “the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking” (Exodus 20:18). A covenant that brought fear and trembling to the people. They were terrified of a righteous God that demanded a righteous obedience. The “old” covenant exposed the reality of sin in the hearts of all people. This failure to keep the commands and the fear of punishment cause the house of Israel to “stand far off” from God and fear Him.

The prophet Jeremiah conveys the promise of a different kind of covenant. A covenant that is described as “new.” This new covenant is for the Children of Israel. This will not be like the covenant that God made with Moses at Sinai. This covenant will also be ushered in with grand heavenly signs; but instead of thunder, lightning, and a smoking mountain, the new covenant will be announced with a Star shining in the East.

The new covenant will be internalized as the Law is written on the hearts. This covenant will result in a new relationship between God and His people. God fulfils the Law given on Sinai in this covenant, in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Not only does God fulfill and keep the Law, He then accepts the punishment that was owed to each and every person on earth. This “new” covenant is the promise of God. Because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ he “will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

We become partakers in this new covenant when the Holy Spirit calls us to Himself through Baptism.

Prayer: Thou hast suffered great affliction and has borne it patiently. Even death by crucifixion, fully to atone for me; Thou didst choose to be tormented that my doom should be prevented. Thousand, thousand thanks shall be, dearest Jesus unto Thee. (Christ, the life of All the Living, LSB 420:6).

This devotion was written by Rev. Gerald Kapanka, pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Waterloo, IA.

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