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estly: and his sweat became as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.'
Because of his God-ward purpose of bringing men into a loving covenant with God, Jesus gave of his blood in the covenant-rite of circumcision. Because of his man-ward sympathy with the needs and the trials of those whom he had come to save, and because of the crushing burden of their death-bringing sins, Jesus gave of his blood in an agony of intercessory suffering. Therefore it is that the Litany cry of the ages goes up to him in fulness of meaning: "By the mystery of thy holy incarnation; by thy holy nativity and circumcision; . . . by thine agony and bloody sweat, Good Lord, deliver us."
In process of time, the hour drew nigh that the true covenant of blood between God and man should be consummated finally, in its perfectness. The period chosen was the passover-feast-the feast observed by the Jews in commemoration of that blood-covenanting occasion in Egypt when God evidenced anew his fidelity to his promises to the seed of Abraham, his blood-covenanted friend. "Now before the feast of the passover, Jesus knowing that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end." 2 "And when the hour
1 Luke 22: 44.
2 John 13: 1.
THE COMMUNION FEAST.
was come, he sat down, and the apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer." Whether he actually partook of the passover meal at that time or not is a point still in dispute; 2 but as to that which follows there is no question.
"As they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it; and he gave to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body."""This do in remembrance of me. And the cup in like manner after supper; „4“and when he had given thanks, he gave [it] to them," "saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the covenant," or, as another Evangelist records, "this cup is the new covenant in my blood," "which is shed for many unto remission of sins"3 [unto the putting away of sins]. "This do, as oft as "And they all
ye drink it, in remembrance of me."
drank of it." 10
Here was the covenant of blood; here was the communion feast, in partaking of the flesh of the fitting and accepted sacrifice;-toward which all rite and symbol, and all heart yearning and inspired
1 Luke 22: 14, 15.
2 As to the points in this dispute, see Andrews's Life of our Lord, pp. 425-460, and Farrar's Life of Christ, Excursus X., Appendix.
prophecy, had pointed, in all the ages. Here was the realization of promise and hope and longing, in man's possibility of inter-union with God through a common life—which is oneness of blood; and in man's intercommunion with God, through participation in the blessings of a common table. He who could speak for God here proffered of his own blood, to make those whom he loved of the same nature with himself, and so of the same nature with his God; to bring them into blood-friendship with their God; and he proffered of his own body, to supply them with soul nourishment, in that Bread which came down from God.
Then it was, while they were there together in that upper room, for the consummating of that bloodcovenant of friendship, that Jesus said to his disciples: Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do the things which I command you. No longer do I call you servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth but I have called you friends [friends in the covenant of blood-friendship now]; for all things that I heard from my Father, I have made known unto you." "1 A common life, through oneness of blood, secures an absolute unreserve of intimacy; so that neither friend has aught to conceal from his other self. "Abide in me, and I in you; . for
1 John 15: 13-15.
THE PRAYER OF FRIENDSHIP.
apart from me ye can do nothing," was the injunction of Jesus to his blood-covenant friends, at this hour of his covenant pledging. "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you.' "1
Then it was, also, that the prayer of Jesus for his new blood-covenant friends went up: "Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that the Son may glorify thee: even as thou gavest him authority over all flesh, that whatsoever [whomsoever] thou hast given him, to them he should give eternal life [in an eternal covenant of blood]. And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and him whom thou didst send [as the means of life], even Jesus Christ. Holy Father, keep them in thy name which thou hast given me, that they may be one, Neither for these [here present] only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word; that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that thou didst send me. And the glory which thou hast given me I have given unto them; that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me, that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that thou didst send me, and lovedst them, 1John 15: 4-7.
even as we are.
even as thou lovedst me."1
Here was declared the
scope of this blood-covenant, and here was unfolded its doctrine.
It was not an utterly new symbolism that Jesus was introducing into the religious thought of the world: it was rather a new meaning that he was introducing into, or that he was disclosing in, an already widely recognized symbolism. The world was familiar with the shadow of truth; Jesus now made clear to the world the truth's substance. Man's longing to be a partaker of the divine nature had manifested itself through all the ages and everywhere. Jesus now showed how that longing of death-smitten man could be realized. "The appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ ... abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel "2 of his blood
But a covenant of blood, a covenant to give one's blood, one's life, for the saving of another, cannot be consummated without the death of the covenanter. "For where [such] a covenant is, there must of necessity be [be brought] the death of him that made it. For [such] a covenant is of force [becomes a reality] where there hath been death [or, over the dead]: for doth it [such a covenant] ever avail [can it be efficient] while he that made it liveth?" Jesus had said,
1 John 17: 1-24.
22 Tim. I: 10.
3 Heb. 9: 16, 17.