When Jesus was leaving the disciples and heading to the cross, what did He leave for them to remember Him by, an altar or a table?
Hebrews is a fascinating letter in the Bible, because I t reveals the depth of what Jesus accomplished through His life, sacrifice, and resurrection. It reveals the weakness of the Old Covenant because of our sin, and the power of the New Covenant based on a better promise.
The kicker is it also reveals that Jesus alone is the One who mediates and maintains this covenant between He and the Father. I have no role to play in keeping the covenant. I simply believe and thank Jesus for all He’s done on my behalf because I could never do it on my own.
Hebrews also clearly teaches that there’s absolutely no more need for sacrifices. The ultimate and final sacrifice has been made and it covers all my sin and yours – every stinkin’ one of them.
Therefore, there’s no longer any need or even use for an altar!
What Jesus left us to remember Him by is a table. He wants us to celebrate Him every time we gather around the table together.
It’s around the table that we are refreshed by good food, drink, and conversations. It’s around the table that we cry together and celebrate! It’s around the table that we have deep conversations and we tell our favorite stories and jokes.
What a gift Jesus has given us! The altar is finished, the table is open – join in.
Let’s talk about it (reply below) –
Why does it matter that the altar has been abolished?
How does seeing Jesus beckoning you to a table (not an altar) change your relationship with Him?
6 thoughts on “Altar or Table?”
How does God’s old covenant have a weakness if it is His Law?
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This is a good question. The Bible does tell us that the Law is good. However, Hebrews 7 reveals that the old covenant, based on the Law, is weak because of our sin. The Law’s weakness is it only has the power to reveal our sin, but it has no power to heal us. Hebrews 7 also states that the new covenant is based on a better promise. This promise is that the Gospel of God’s grace does have the power to forgive us and, therefore, heal us.
So, the Law is good and fulfills its purpose which is to reveal our sin. It’s also good because it reveals we need a Savior. Which is what the new covenant brings.
As it relates to altars and tables, the old covenant required daily sacrifices which really didn’t solve the problem of our sin (again see Hebrews for more details). Jesus was the ultimate and final sacrafice, thereby fulfilling once and for all the demands of the Law. So, the need for the altar has come to an end – it is finished.
Jesus replaces the altar with a table – a table with a fulfilling meal. Which is both a remembrance/celebration and a foreshadow to the ultimate feast we will all celebrate together with Jesus upon His return.
I guess the real question is why would He create a covenant with a weakness?
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The weakness has a purpose. It reveals our need for a Savior. It points us to Jesus.
In fact, that’s what all of the Old Testament does, it points us to our need for Jesus and it reveals Jesus throughout its stories.
Great questions, Mark!