The New Covenant and the Kingdom of God

Understanding the Red Letters   Part 2

“And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood’ ” (Luke 22:20).

Jesus established the new covenant through His shed blood on the cross.  And the focus of His earthly ministry leading to the cross was to announce in a hundred different ways the coming of the new covenant.  The verse quoted above is part of Jesus’ last words to His disciples.  And it mirrors His first recorded words from three years prior.

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel’ “ (Mark 1:14-15).

“Repent” (change your mind about how one is made right with God).  “Believe in the gospel” (the gospel message of the new covenant, the coming new arrangement of how one is made right with God).  And “The kingdom of God is here” (I represent the kingdom of God.  I am the means by which the kingdom of God is arriving.  I am the means whereby the new covenant will be initiated.)

The coming of the kingdom of God and the coming of the new covenant are synonymous and basically interchangeable.  Jesus rarely used the words “new covenant”, but He spoke about the arrival of kingdom of God over and over.  When Jesus begins a parable with “The kingdom of God is like …”, He could just as easily say, “Life under the new covenant will be like …”.  So the red letters contain plenty of new covenant content if we know where to look for it.

From Jesus’ first message (Mark 1:14-15) to His last (Luke 22:20), His proclamation was consistent.  Repent and believe.  Believe the gospel.  Believe in this new covenant, this new arrangement with God, secured by My death in your place on the cross.  And the result of that belief is eternal life; it is passing from death to life.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (John 5:24).