The movie “The Passion of the Christ,” which portrays the last few hours of Christ’s life, once created a sensation all over the world. This film depicts Christ’s agony after the Passover and it ends with His resurrection. To put it simply, it vividly depicts the process of Jesus becoming a kernel of wheat to save souls.
Like Christ, we, too, ought to devote ourselves to saving lives, as a kernel of wheat. Now, through the Bible, let’s take an in-depth study of Christ, who sacrificed Himself to save the lives of many people, and of the new covenant which He established through His blood.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, … 1 Co 15:3-4
Christ was badly whipped and beaten; His hands and feet were cruelly pierced by nails; His flesh was torn and His blood was spattered over the floor.
Watching Christ suffering and dying on the cross in the movie, we were reminded how grave our sins were that Christ had to pay such a terrible price so that we might be forgiven.
As described in the Bible, Christ sacrificed Himself for our sins. He came as a man, weak and feeble, just like one of us, and was slandered, reproached and insulted by the religious leaders in those days; He bore all the inexpressible pain and shame to save our lives.
Christ tried His hardest even to the point of willingly giving Himself to death on the cross in order to save our lives. Like Him, we should also spare no effort and sacrifice to save the lives of all human beings. For Christ said, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (Jn 13:15).
God gave a command to us, who want to live like Christ. In the book of Matthew, let’s see what Christ’s last command is.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Mt 28:18-20
By these words Jesus meant: ‘As I came to this earth to save souls, so you must go to all the people of the world and preach the gospel to them, so that you can save their lives.’ God has given us opportunities to fully learn about the life of Christ, who walked the path of sacrifice for mankind, and to devote ourselves to saving the lives of all people in the world. God wishes us, His children, to live like Christ. That is why He has commanded us to preach the gospel.
Christ came to this earth to save our lives, and we are to go out into all the world to save other people’s lives. To save them, a remedy is needed. God teaches us the life-giving remedy through the Bible. With that remedy, we should go to Samaria and to the ends of the earth.
Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. … so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. …” Jn 6:53-58
This is the remedy which God, the spiritual Doctor, has provided for us. God promised: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” And He told us to go to Samaria and even to the ends of the earth and save all mankind by giving them the flesh of the Son of Man to eat and His blood to drink.
In God’s sight, all men are spiritually dead because of their sins (Mt 8:22; Ro 6:23). To save such mortal beings, God Himself came to this earth in the flesh and gave us His flesh to eat and His blood to drink. For this, He established the law of life, which is the new covenant.
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’ ” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. … While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Mt 26:17-19, 26-28
The Passover is closely related to our salvation. So Jesus Christ had instructed His disciples to prepare the Passover before He suffered. And on the Passover, He took bread and said, “Take and eat; this is my body; do this in remembrance of me.” Then He took the cup of wine, saying, “Drink from it. This is my blood, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
“Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” By these words Jesus meant, “Unless you eat the Passover bread and drink the Passover wine, you have no life in you,” didn’t He? On the other hand, He also said, “Whoever eats the flesh of the Son of Man and drinks His blood—whoever celebrates the Passover of the new covenant—has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Christ gave us life through the new covenant. So if we want to live like Christ, we should also preach the new covenant to the whole world. It is God’s will that all people throughout the world have eternal life by keeping the new covenant.
God wants all the people of the earth to have life through the new covenant. But the enemy, the devil, has been hindering the work of God since the creation of the world.
He devised a clever scheme to prevent people from turning their hearts toward God. His scheme was to destroy all the covenants of life, established by God, little by little. For about 300 years after Jesus’ ascension, Satan obscured the truth using all kinds of subtle means, and in A.D. 325 he finally issued a decree prohibiting the observance of the Passover.
God already prophesied this through the prophet Daniel.
He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. Da 7:25
Those who were under the authority of Satan, standing against God the Most High, changed God’s appointed times and laws, and have afflicted the people of God for over a thousand years. Even today, Satan is continuously hindering and afflicting the people of truth, who keep God’s set times and laws.
However, even though so many people fall into Satan’s traps and follow the changed laws, we, children of God, should keep God’s original laws according to His will, shouldn’t we? Apostle Paul strongly emphasized that the gospel preached by Christ should not be changed, when he wrote to the saints of the early Church.
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! Gal 1:6-8
Apostle Paul, the author of Galatians, mentioned ‘the gospel we preached to you.’ What does this gospel refer to? Let’s take a look at a part of the gospel of Christ, which Paul preached.
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 1 Co 11:23-26
Here, Apostle Paul testifies about the Passover of the new covenant by quoting verses in Luke 22. He says that he received the new covenant from the Lord and that we should proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes by celebrating it. And he adds that if anyone preaches a gospel other than the one we preached to him, let him be cursed.
We were doomed to die eternally on account of sin. To give us life, God Himself came to this earth. That life is contained in the new covenant. So the Apostle Paul preached the new covenant, which he had received from Christ, even when he traveled to the Gentile city of Corinth.
God put eternal life into a container—the Passover of the new covenant—and gave it to us. And we are now doing God’s errand to convey life, which we have received from God, to all people around the world. The Bible calls us, who preach the new covenant to save the world, “ministers of the new covenant.”
He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Co 3:6
As the ministers of the new covenant, we need to understand the Passover above all else. When we understand the Passover, we can be born again as the children of the new covenant who convey eternal life, which we have received from Christ, to all people of the world.
People in the world diligently work toward their own goals, but most of them miss the opportunities God provides for them to receive life. We should preach Christ’s love and life to them. That is our duty as ministers of the new covenant.
Whether we work or slumber or sleep, everything God has planned and purposed is continuously being carried out without stopping even for a moment. However, God says that on the day of Judgment He will reward us according to what we have done (Rev 22:12).
When our Master comes back and settles accounts with us, we should all please and satisfy Him as ministers of the new covenant, saying, “We have gained ten more talents by leading many souls to heaven.” Then He will say, “Well done! You are worthy of My sacrifice.” Let us all become the wise and faithful workers of the new covenant with whom God is well pleased.
There was a play titled “15 Minutes” performed by a theater group. The main character was a young man walking on the royal road to success. He was in a circumstance where he could achieve anything he desired. A bright future seemed to be guaranteed for him. Then one day, he went to see a doctor for a medical checkup. After the examination, the doctor told him that he had only 15 minutes to live.
Within just 15 minutes, lots of good news reached the dying young man. First, a letter was delivered to him by a postman, which informed him that he passed the medical school exam and that he would need to attend the doctoral degree conferment ceremony. Under normal conditions, he would be greatly pleased to receive a doctoral degree in medicine which was hard to obtain. However, he had just 10 minutes to live, so he could not even take time to rejoice.
Then another news came to him. The news was that his rich relative, who had been watching him all his life, left him one hundred million dollars’ worth of property. As such good news continually came to him, the doctor standing beside him said that he now had only 5 minutes to live. Then another postman appeared and gave him a letter from the woman, whom he had loved and proposed to, indicating her acceptance of his proposal.
When he finished hearing the news, the doctor let him know that he had only a minute to live. He felt sad and heartbroken by the fact that even though he had received all this joyful news, he had only a minute to enjoy it. A minute later, he finally died in vain.
The play ended by conveying the message: Please think about what the most precious thing in this man’s life really was.
What is the most important thing in our life? The most precious thing is “life.” Even though we have every good thing, if we have no life, it is nothing.
To give us this precious life, Christ endured all the extreme pain, shedding His blood. For our life, He suffered so severely. Every drop of blood God shed in agony has brought forth the Passover bread and wine.
Let us consider what Christ suffered for and what He was wishing in the midst of such extreme pain and suffering. For what and for whom did He bear the pain of being whipped by the Roman soldiers and the pain of having His flesh torn? If we think about it, we will not be able to ignore the new covenant, which Christ established through His precious blood.
From now on, we must live like Christ. Even though the Christ-like life may bring us suffering and adversity, it is the path that leads to glory in the end. God has made known this fact to us.
Every drop of Christ’s blood has become a spiritual medicine that brings the forgiveness of sins and life to many people. Understanding this fact, let us preach the new covenant to all the people of the world and help them keep it. I earnestly hope that all our brothers and sisters in Zion will give glory to God by saving many souls through the new covenant, just as Christ did, and will receive heavenly blessings abundantly.