Matthew 26:28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
If you want to understand Lent, we of course look to Jesus suffering and death, but if you want to understand what Jesus suffering and death mean, you must look to the Passover. At Passover. A lamb without spot or blemish is sacrificed, and the blood was placed on the door posts and the lintels as a sign, and the people in and under the sign of the blood would be protected. And those who were not under the protection of the blood of the lamb would suffer greatly.
Passover begins with the question, where is the lamb for the sacrifice, a question Isaac first asked as he travels with his father to worship. Abrahamís answer is that God will provide the lamb for the sacrifice. And these were the words that must have been going through Abrahamís mind, as he bound Isaac, and placed him on the altar, and lifted the knife to slay his only son, whom he loved, it was the original cliff hanger, for only at the last moment does God speak, and instant later and Isaac would have been dead, and when God speaks God commends Abraham for his faith, and because he did not withhold his only son, whom he loved. And when Abraham looked, there was the lamb of the sacrifice, caught by its horns, God had provided, just as Abraham had believed. And Abraham offered the lamb, in place of his son, as a sacrifice to the Lord his God.
Passover continues with what happened to all those who were not under the protection of the blood of the lamb, for the destroying angel went throughout all of Egypt killing the firstborn of all creation, but sparing the houses that were marked with the blood of the Lamb. It was then, the blood of the Lamb, what would set the people of Israel free from the slavery and hard bondage under which they had suffered. Those who were under the blood of the lamb were saved, and were brought to the promised land.
But an ordinary lamb was not enough, to free people from a slavery to sin, a slavery to death, and a slavery to the devil. And so in the fullness of time, God sent his only Son whom he loved, to be the sacrifice for sin, not for His sin, but for our sin. And just as the lamb of the Passover set the people free, and would guide them to the promised land, so Jesus, the true lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, was offered as a sacrifice to pay the debt, the debt for our sin; and to free us from the bondage we were under, a slavery to sin, death and the devil, and then, to guide us safely to the promised land, and to everlasting life.
And so we remember today, that on the night before he died, Jesus gave us his blood, for the forgiveness of all our sins. But this blood of the new covenant, is not just for one night, nor is it done just in commemoration of an event long ago, but it is this blood which we turn to daily, and in this blood, daily, we find that our sins have been washed away, that we are at peace with God, and we look forward to our arrival in that day when God brings us to the promised land.
In some ways, it is too easy. God has already done everything necessary, and it would be easy to become complacent, or to believe that there is no real danger, and that we do not need to live daily under the protection of the blood of the lamb of God. But God does not lie, and the danger of remaining in our sins, is not just a danger of death, but of an everlasting death, which is the eternal punishment of hell. This is why the words Drink of this all of you, are not just an invitation, it is a command, for those who are not under the protection of the blood of the lamb of God will most certainly perish. And while we look to the Lordís Supper as the chief means by which we receive the blood of the lamb which cleanses us from all sin, this same protection does also come to the young at Baptism, and it comes to all as the hear the Word of God, and believe His gracious promises, for he has indeed sent in His beloved Son a full and complete salvation. And while part of why we gather is the worship of God, part of it is also that we might encourage one another to continue steadfast in our confession and faith.
And we still eat, as though prepared for travel, for though we are always following our Savior on the path that leads to heaven, we are also going out into all the world, and inviting them into our house that by the hearing of the Word of God, they to may share in the blessings that come to us in the body and blood of Jesus Christ, given and shed for us for the forgiveness of our sins.