UNDER TWO COVENANTS
Lord, I will follow You because You have called me.
Read LUKE 6:12–16
The Twelve Apostles
12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
New International Version (NIV)
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“Thy blessed unction from above / is comfort, life and ﬁre of love. / Enable with perpetual light / the dullness of our blinded sight” (“Veni, Creator Spiritus,” attributed to Rabanus Maurus, 776–856).
The call to follow Jesus is always a call to imitate him. Jesus shows compassion for the sick and weak; he blesses the poor and the outcast; he eats with those whom society rejects as sinful or unclean. Following Jesus along this path was never easy for the ﬁrst disciples, nor has it proved to be easy since. People are attracted to Jesus but, like the ﬁrst disciples, we can follow him truly only when we see clearly who he is. Jesus has called the twelve out from the larger group of his followers. A constant theme in the Gospels is the disciples’ apparent dullness: they are spontaneously drawn to Jesus but notoriously slow to comprehend his statements until after his resurrection. This honesty of the Gospel writers encouraged the early Christian readers, who were struggling to understand how to live the Christian life in challenging circumstances and sometimes failing. Jesus could accuse the disciples of dullness of mind (Matt. 15:16; Luke 24:25; John 14:9) but we should not smirk. We have the beneﬁt of 2,000 years of Christian history; they did not.
It is easy to forget how new and strikingly different Jesus’ teaching was. We must understand that these disciples were the ﬁrst people to live under two covenants at different points of their life. It was hard for them to catch on! Growing up under the old covenant, they had diligently labored under it. God had given their ancestors the covenant and called them to follow it down throughout Hebrew history. Their religious leaders may have perverted it, but God expected them to follow it as the only way to live. Now suddenly that faithfulness is being called into question. The new covenant is bursting in upon them as the new wine in old wineskins. One day they would understand, but not until recognizing that this next covenant is the new covenant in Jesus’ blood.
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me” (1 Cor. 11:25; cf. Luke 22:20).
Lord, thank You for placing me under the new covenant, a better covenant with better promises.
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