Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Jeremiah 31:31-34 1
31 “The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. 33 “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

clip_image060Background 2

Jeremiah was a Kohen (member of the priestly family) called to the prophetical office when still young; in the thirteenth year of Josiah (628 BC). He left his native place, Anathoth, to reside in Jerusalem, where he assisted Josiah in his work of reformation. Jeremiah wrote a lamentation upon the death of the king (2 Chr. 35:25).

In his various exhortations, Jeremiah made extensive use of performance art, using props or demonstrations to illustrate points and engage the public. He walked around wearing a wooden yoke about his neck. He served wine to a family with a vow of temperance. He bought his family estate in Anathoth while in prison and while the Babylonians were occupying it.

He remained in Jerusalem, uttering from time to time his words of warning, but without much effect. He was there when Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon besieged the city (Jer. 37:4, 5), 588 BC, as Jeremiah had prophesied beforehand. The rumor of the approach of the Egyptians to aid the Jews in this crisis induced the Babylonians to withdraw, and to return to their own land. However, this siege was raised for only a short time. The prophet, in answer to his prayer, received a message from God, stating that “the Babylonians would come again, and take the city, and burn it with fire” (37:7, 8). The princes, in their anger at such a message by Jeremiah, cast him into prison (37:15-38:13). He was still in confinement when the city was taken (586 BC). The Babylonians released him, and showed him great kindness, allowing Jeremiah to choose the place of his residence, according to a Babylonian edict. Jeremiah accordingly went to Mizpah in Benjamin with Gedaliah, who had been made governor of Judea.

Biblical Truths and Theology

The prophet Jeremiah speaks to the people of Israel and Judah. By force they have become semi-free subjects of a Persian King, and they have lost their land. God speaks to these people through a vision that Jeremiah relays to them.

  • Covenant – People are reminded of the Old Mosaic Covenant God engineered between them. Due to their ancestors’ inequities of disobeying God, a new covenant will be employed. God realizes the shortcomings of passing a covenant from generation to generation. God says he will establish a covenant that cannot be misinterpreted or forgotten, because it shall be written on everyone’s heart and mind. Jeremiah enacts a future covenant that speaks of God’s mercy. The catastrophic punishment for disobeying God will no longer exist. God promises to for iniquity and remember their sins no more.
  • Husband – God wishes to remain in an intimate relationship with the people. In Biblical times, the husband was appropriated with overseeing the good welfare and health of the family. Old covenants were broken, and a disappointed God only says “I was their husband”.
  • Teach – Torah is the Hebrew word for teachings. The style of teaching God’s covenant to children by their parents has past. God intends to write this covenant so that all will know him.

Items for Discussion

  • What is a covenant? What are the modern covenants of today?
  • Have covenants of old changed in any way – do people make or honor their promises differently?
  • Why is it important to know what promises our God has made to us?
  • In what way does Bible Study support our covenant with God?
  • When you look at the promises made by God, why are they beneficial to mankind?
  • Why is the concept of forgiveness (God’s kind of forgiveness) important to His covenant?

 

John 12:20-33
20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. 23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. 27 “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. 30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

Background 3

As a gospel, John is a story about the life of Jesus. John tells this story in four parts: the Prologue, the Book of Signs, the Passion narrative, and the Epilogue. The Prologue (1:1-18) is a hymn identifying Jesus as the Logos and as God. The Book of Signs (1:19 – 12) recounts Jesus’ public ministry, and includes the signs worked by Jesus and some of his teachings. The Passion narrative (13-20) recounts the Last Supper (focusing on Jesus’ farewell discourse), Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion, his burial, and resurrection. The Epilogue (John 21) records a resurrection appearance of Jesus to the disciples in Galilee.

Of the four gospels, John presents the highest Christology, describing Jesus as the Logos who was in the Arche (a Greek term for “the beginning” or “the ultimate source of all things”), teaching at length about his identity as savior, and declaring him to be God.

Biblical Truths 4

That God will renew his covenant with them, so that all these blessings they shall have, not by providence only, but by promise, and thereby they shall be both sweetened and secured. But this covenant refers to gospel times, the latter days that shall come; for of gospel grace the apostle understands it (Hebrews 8:8,9), where this whole passage is quoted as a summary of the covenant of grace made with believers in Jesus Christ. Observe,:

  1. Who the persons are with whom this covenant is made–with the house of Israel and Judah, with the gospel church, the Israel of God on which peace shall be (Galatians 6:16), with the spiritual seed of believing Abraham and praying Jacob. Judah and Israel had been two separate kingdoms, but were united after their return, in the joint favors God bestowed upon them; so Jews and Gentiles were in the gospel church and covenant.
  2. What is the nature of this covenant in general: it is a new covenant and not according to the covenant made with them when they came out of Egypt; not as if that made with them at Mount Sinai were a covenant of nature and innocence, such as was made with Adam in the day he was created; no, that was, for substance, a covenant of grace, but it was a dark dispensation of that covenant in comparison with this in gospel times. Sinners were saved by that covenant upon their repentance, and faith in a Messiah to come, whose blood, confirming that covenant, was typified by that of the legal sacrifices, Exodus 24:7,8. Yet this may upon many accounts be called new, in comparison with that; the ordinances and promises are more spiritual and heavenly, and the discoveries much more clear. That covenant God made with them when he took them by the hand, as they had been blind, or lame, or weak, to lead them out of the land of Egypt, which covenant they broke. Observe, It was God that made this covenant, but it was the people that broke it; for our salvation is of God, but our sin and ruin are of ourselves. It was an aggravation of their breach of it that God was a husband to them, that he had espoused them to himself; it was a marriage-covenant that was between him and them, which they broke by idolatry, that spiritual adultery. It is a great aggravation of our treacherous departures from God that he has been a husband to us, a loving, tender, careful husband, faithful to us, and yet we false to him.
  3. What are the particular articles of his covenant. They all contain spiritual blessings; not, “I will give them the land of Canaan and a numerous issue,” but, “I will give them pardon, and peace, and grace, good heads and good hearts.”

He promises:

  1. That he will incline them to their duty; I will put my law in their inward part and write it in their heart; not, I will give them a new law (as Mr. Gataker well observes), for Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it; but the law shall be written in their hearts by the finger of the Spirit as formerly it was written in the tables of stone. God writes his law in the hearts of all believers, makes it ready and familiar to them, at hand when they have occasion to use it, as that which is written in the heart, Proverbs 3:3. He makes them in care to observe it, for that which we are solicitous about is said to lie near our hearts. He works in them a disposition to obedience, a conformity of thought and affection to the rules of the divine law, as that of the copy to the original. This is here promised, and ought to be prayed for, that our duty may be done conscientiously and with delight.
  2. That he will take them into relation to himself: I will be their God, a God all-sufficient to them, and they shall be my people, a loyal obedient people to me. God’s being to us a God is the summary of all happiness; heaven itself is no more, Hebrews 11:16,Re+21:3. Our being to him a people may be taken either as the condition on our part (those and those only shall have God to be to them a God that are truly willing to engage themselves to be to him a people) or as a further branch of the promise that God will by his grace make us his people, a willing people, in the day of his power; and, whoever are his people, it is his grace that makes them so.
  3. That there shall be an abundance of the knowledge of God among all sorts of people, and this will have an influence upon all good: for those that rightly know God’s name will seek him, and serve him, and put their trust in him (Jeremiah 31:34): All shall know me; all shall be welcome to the knowledge of God and shall have the means of that knowledge; his ways shall be known upon earth, whereas, for many ages, in Judah only was God known. Many more shall know God than did in the Old Testament times, which among the Gentiles were times of ignorance, the true God being to them an unknown God. The things of God shall in gospel times be made more plain and intelligible, and level to the capacities of the meanest, than they were while Moses had a veil upon his face. There shall be such a general knowledge of God that there shall not be so much need as had formerly been of teaching.

Items for Discussion

  • Why is the symbolism behind seeds and a single wheat seed so important to understand?
  • Does it matter how the seed dies or is there a good and bad way?
  • Jesus is the seed. What is the benefit to us in this death?
  • What other parables can you think of that were about seeds?
  • If we are to become the crop and then seeds ourselves, what does this story say about our lives?

Discussion Challenge

  • What role does a church have in providing the necessary elements to grow “seeds?” Think about what is water, what is earth, who is the gardener, who is the harvester, etc.

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremiah
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John
  4. Mathew Henry Commentaries http://www.studylight.org/com/mhc-com/view.cgi?book=jer&chapter=031
Share