9th April 2020

Anticipation Fulfilled

“This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
1 Corinthians 11:23 (NRSV)

If you were to sum up the Old Testament in one word, what would it be? One candidate could be anticipation. Scripture tells us that in the very beginning, through an act of wonderful grace, God created all things. However, the pinnacle of creation, humanity, rejected a life of resting in his grace. They wanted to call the shots, but alas, their desires brought disaster. Back in Genesis, God promised that he would rescue us from this mess with the Messianic passage that the woman’s offspring will crush the serpent’s head, generally thought to refer to Jesus (Genesis 3:15). This promise was given focus in the life of Abraham (Genesis 12:3) and then in the calling of Old Testament Israel. Through every history, prophecy and psalm, the Old Testament grew in anticipation that God’s salvation was on its way. Old Testament Israel seemed to have more failures than successes; again human desires refused to live a life under grace. But this did not dent the anticipation; every failure only fueled the desire for God’s promise to be fulfilled.

And then Jesus turned up. If there is one word that can sum up the New Testament, then it is Jesus. To our surprise, God’s answer for the mess caused by humanity is Himself. Somehow, God becomes human: we know him as Jesus Christ. In fact in Luke 24:27 “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” We find that all those hints and promises of the Old Testament were fulfilled by him. Interestingly, the Old Testament makes more sense in light of him.

There is something that Christians do which brings this key message together in one moment. Some call it Communion; others the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist. In that one moment all eyes turn to Jesus. The bread and wine vividly remind us of his past sacrifice on the Cross. “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:25). This event also points us forward to when we will sit down together at the marriage supper of the Lamb. And right now, today, we are reminded that we do not worship an absent God. Through the Spirit, Christ is with us as we eat and drink.

The promise fulfilled. Anticipation realised. Jesus is God’s answer to humanity’s disaster. Together, let us eat the bread and drink the wine, with our eyes firmly on Jesus. For he is the fulfilment of all things; through Jesus, God is restoring his grace to the world.

Father, turn ours eyes towards Jesus. Let us see him as the fulfilment of all your promises. Let our hope of the future be centered on him and let our lives today be a response to his presence in and with us. We ask this in his name, the only name through which we see salvation, Jesus Christ.

Study by Ian Woodley

About the Author:
Ian Woodley is an Elder and Pastoral Council member of the Edinburgh Congregation of Grace Communion International, UK.

Local Congregation:
GCI, Edinburgh
Gilmerton New Church
Ravenscroft Street
EH17 8QJ

Meeting time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Peter Mill
Email: edinburgh@gracecom.church

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