Covenant Connections Series Lent 5-A New Covenant in Our Hearts-March 25, 2012:
Jeremiah 31:31-34; John 12:20-33
The prophet Jeremiah speaks of a time when the Lord will make a new covenant. Not like the covenant with their forefathers who broke it but rather a covenant that will put the law in their minds and write it on their hearts. The new covenant is not something to do just to appease and honor God, so it can be seen as jumping through some spiritual hoop, but rather in their minds and on their hearts because it is who they are. In confirming I will be their God and they will be my people, it becomes much more of understanding of our identity in Christ.
In John’s gospel Jesus uses the illustration unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Then Jesus speaks of those who hold on so tightly to their lives that there is not life left, but if we are willing to let go for his sake we will have eternal life. To serve him is to follow and obey him. This new covenant in our minds and hearts, are like the seed being planted in us as that seeds (Christ) died he produced many seeds (followers) who share in the spreading of the gospel of Christ to the world. Holding onto the seed of our own life and not allowing it to be fruitful will lead to the loss of that life. However to those who are willing to allow their lives to serve as seeds can spread the message of Christ throughout their world and generation by generation through time.
Jesus words to his disciples speak of his own death and willingness to do so, but also the persecution that those who follow him may have to endure, the worst of which death. It has been said that the seed bed of the gospel and for that case the early church was the blood of the martyrs. It was through their sacrifice that the message of Christ flourished. In our comfort ridden, and consumer driven society that tells us it is all about us, the great temptation is to hold on to our lives, and our perception that we are in control. The new covenant planted in our minds and hearts, will call for us to follow faithfully, and sacrifice graciously for in loosing our life we will truly find life.