New, not Renewed

Jeremiah 31:31–34; Psalm 51:1–12; John 12:20–33 (read online ⧉)

The promise of a new covenant was good news! A people who were lost and broken, many of whom knew that they had fallen away from God received the positive and hopeful news that there would be a new covenant. The problem was when and how would this happen? The people of Jeremiah’s time would be looking for it now.

The people of Jesus’ time were also expectantly waiting, but it would seem far too many were more concerned with the how rather than the when. By Jesus’ time, some insisted that everyone would know the law as revealed by Moses would be in everyone’s heart. The law, as revealed by Moses, would be perfectly understood and lived out by every Jew.

By Jesus’ day, the “new” covenant became more of a renewed covenant of old. The hope of a new covenant was being dashed against the rocks of the old one. With Jesus’ ongoing shake-up of tradition, he continued to draw attention. Previously, Jesus had told his disciples to not go to the Gentiles or Samaritans, though he did have personal interactions with them.

Now, however, Greeks wanted to meet Jesus. Being called Greeks, it is quite likely that they weren’t from nearby, but had come to the Temple to worship (probably being converts to Judaism). In other words, Jesus was no longer just locally known. From a strictly logical standpoint, we know that the religious leaders were trying to get rid of Jesus, how much more so when the “tourists” start asking for Jesus.

  1. What do we do when “the tourists” start asking us about Jesus?
  2. Do we celebrate a new member of the new covenant?
  3. Do we start asking them about how they are following the law?
  4. Are we honest about how we are not following the law ourselves?

By Pastor Ian

Ian is an ordained Elder in The Church of the Nazarene, and is currently serving as the Online Campus Pastor at Generations Community Church in Marysville, WA, USA.