Lent Fifth Sunday Morning Prayer (21 March 2021) Jeremiah 31:31
Today is the Fifth Sunday in Lent, commonly known as Passion Sunday. Today’s meditation is based on our Old Testament Reading, the prophetic book of Jeremiah, chapter 31, verse 31. “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah”. We read similar verses in Jeremiah 33:14–16. “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our righteousness”.
Jeremiah prophesised these verses between 626 and 585 BC. Let us quickly recollect what happened before this. The Lord God was pleased with David and made a covenant with him that He would establish and preserve David’s kingdom in Israel. We can read God’s covenant in 2 Samuel 7:8–16. David’s son Solomon turned away from the Lord God and worshipped other Gods to please his wives. United Israel was split into two after Solomon’s rule. Ten tribes were given to Solomon’s servant and only two tribes of Israel were given to Solomon’s son. David’s throne was passed to the southern kingdom. Both the kings Rehoboam and Jeroboam led the people away from God. Northern kingdom was taken captive by the Assyrians and the southern kingdom was taken captive by the Babylonians. Zedekiah was the last king in David’s tribe. David’s throne was not passed on to anyone after Zedekiah. The kingdom was ruled by Babylonian and Assyrian kings. The people scattered from the house of Israel and Judah to escape from their enemies.
The Lord had promised David saying, “my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever”. But when the Israelites were taken captives, in the world’s eyes, God’s covenant was broken and not fulfilled in David’s tribe. Numbers 23:19 says “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” It is always true that our Lord is true to His promises. Even though the people of Israel turned away from God, He did not forget His covenant with David. During this period, Jeremiah’s prophecy was a wakeup call to all those who turned away from God. He reassured His covenant through prophet Jeremiah. He prophesised about God’s pre-determined day, the restoration and rebuilding of Jerusalem and Judah and the branch of Jesse. Both the portions in Jeremiah mention ‘the days’. We know God has a specific time for His plan to happen. I would like to meditate about a few events that happened on a specific day and about a few events that we are waiting to happen based on this Messianic prophecy.
When the Old Testament laws and commandments could not save the people from eternal death, God the Father gave His only begotten son Jesus Christ as the Passover Lamb for the remission of our sins. When the angel of the LORD told Mary about Jesus’s birth, he said, “the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” In Luke 2:6 we read “the days were accomplished that she should be delivered”. When ‘the days’ in God’s time were fulfilled, Jesus was born in David’s tribe. The first part of the Messianic prophecy was fulfilled in Bethlehem, David’s city.
Jesus, the branch of righteousness, came to save this world from eternal death. When Jesus ministered in this world, the people in darkness saw a great light. Jesus preached about the kingdom of God and prepared them to be with Him in heaven. The verses that we read in Jeremiah say that the Lord will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and Judah and perform a good thing when ‘the days’ come. To fulfil His Father’s mission, Jesus suffered and died on the cross and made a new covenant with us. He gave salvation by the blood of the lamb of God. When ‘the day’ came, Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament Laws and Commandments on the cross. He died for every one of us on the cross. He was buried and when ‘the day’ came, He rose again and took victory over death. The resurrected Jesus stayed nearly forty days to strengthen His disciples and when ‘the day’ came, He ascended into heaven. On the Day of Pentecost, He poured the Holy Spirit among the Apostles and the people. These are the Messianic Prophecies that were fulfilled 2000 years ago when Jessie’s root and the branch of righteousness was established. We are waiting for the other half of the Messianic prophecies to be fulfilled.
On ‘the day’ pre-determined by the Father, the church and the Holy Spirit will be taken away from the earth and the world will be given to Antichrist’s Reign. At the end of the seventh year, Jesus’ feet will be on mount Sinai to fight against the beast at Armageddon. The expectation of the early church will be fulfilled. Jesus will rule over Israel for thousand years. He will be the last king and the prophecies in 2 Samuel 7 and Jeremiah will be fulfilled. On that day, Judah and the house of Israel will be saved. God will execute judgement to Antichrist’s army.
At the end of the thousand years, when Satan is loosed out of his prison, he will go out to deceive the nations. When they come against the beloved city, God will send fire from heaven to devour them. The devil will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. On ‘the day’ of White Throne Judgement, those who are not saved will also be judged and will cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. God will create the new heaven and the new earth. The whole Messianic prophecy will be fulfilled on that day. The tabernacle of God will be with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
We know that God the Father made a covenant with his chosen people. We read about His covenant with Noah, Abraham, Moses, the Israelites, David, Solomon and others. Similarly, He made a covenant with the house of Israel and Judah. Almighty Father sent His son Jesus to renew His covenant. Jesus the Good Shepherd came and sacrificed Himself as the Passover Lamb to find the lost sheep. Jesus came to this world to save every one of us from our eternal death on that day. The son of the shepherd boy lost the Lord’s covenant. Salvation is the new covenant Jesus made by shedding His blood. Without salvation no one can meet Jesus and be with Him in the kingdom of God. Jesus was born as David’s descendant to make a new covenant with us. Jesus has fulfilled His part of the covenant with us. Matthew 1:17 gives a crisp timeline until Jesus’s birth. “So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations”. It is a good thing that He established His covenant by purchasing us with His precious blood. His life, teaching, suffering, dying and rising from the dead is the fulfilment of the Lord’s promise. What is our response to the covenant Jesus has made with us? Are we worthy of the new covenant made through the precious blood of the Lamb of God? Will we be with Jesus in the kingdom of heaven when the Messianic prophecies are fulfilled?
May the LORD Jesus help us to renew our covenant with Him. In the coming weeks, when we remember His suffering, death and resurrection, let us also prepare and preserve us to inherit eternal life with Him in the kingdom of heaven. Amen!