The Basis of the Ultimate Purpose
Let us now turn to Matthew 26:18. Here the Master is preparing for the Passover, and sends a messenger to a certain man whom He evidently knows in secret, and He says to this man, "My time is at hand; I keep the Passover at thy house with My disciples". The Passover; here the blood is again in view. But what is the most conspicuous thing relative to this particular Passover supper and the shed blood? It is a covenant. We read, "This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many unto remission of sins" (Matthew 26:28). "The blood of the eternal covenant" (Hebrews 13:20). It is a covenant in view now in the Passover.
In the case of Israel and the Passover, in that blood of the Lamb there was a covenant between the Lord of Life and His people as against the lord of death and his authority, and in that covenant with His people made in the blood of the Passover Lamb they were secured from the tyranny of "him that had the power of death, that is, the devil," and were brought out from death into Life, from darkness into Light, from bondage into Liberty, from shame into Glory, from desolation into Fruitfulness. That covenant was the basis of their emancipation, and all of that is bound up now with this - "a new covenant in My blood" (Luke 22:20).
This is the covenant between Himself, the Lord of Life, and His own elect ones, by which they are going to be made victorious over death in their union with Him as members of His Body; the covenant with His Church by which death is robbed ultimately, finally of its power. Here you have the basis of His ultimate purpose; and it will be upon the basis of that covenant in His Life that we are maintained victorious. That is, here you have the thing made in the blood and in the life of the eternal Son of God, Whom "God ... brought again from the dead with the Blood of the eternal covenant," which is the absolute ground of your victory.
He is a God Who keepth covenant. This covenant is as everlasting covenant, the eternal covenant of a Life which cannot see corruption, and upon that basis we are bound to go through triumphantly. He will not break this covenant with us. This covenant stand to bring us into that union with Himself which is going absolutely to triumph.
Now you see, what He secures here in His covenant is a basis - that relationship in life by which He is going to work out all that was wrought in the Cross, and in the Resurrection. We have anticipated this, but here the stronger emphasis comes. How is He going to demonstrate throughout the cosmos that He has triumphed over death? He will do it in and through those who are in covenant relation with Him upon the basis of this one Life. So He sits down with His disciples, and in this testimony He declares that oneness in His death and in His burial and in His resurrection is the way of victory. He says, in effect, 'What is true of Me is going to be true of you - that is, victory over death - and here I make the covenant which cannot be broken that we together are going to display the victory of this life throughout the universe.' A covenant in Life. That is the Hour. "My time is at hand."
5. The Mind and the Method of the Ultimate Purpose
Now let us turn to John 13. Here you have the account of the feet washing. "Jesus knowing that His hour was come ... and that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that he came forth from God, and goeth unto God ...". How rich that is! But that is the basis of what is going to take place now. With all things delivered unto Him of the Father, and knowing that He came forth from God and returned to God - upon that basis He rose from supper, laid aside His garment, took a towel and girded Himself, and poured water into a basin and washed the feet of the disciples. Then, coming to Simon, He made this remarkable statement, so full of significance: "What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt understand hereafter" (John 13:7). Then this must be a symbolic act, a sign. It is a sign of Jesus. It ranges the ages and the eternities, and could truly be paraphrased in this way:
'He rose from His Throne; He laid aside the garments of Light. He took the poor towel of our humanity and wrapped it around His Glorious Person, and poured His own Blood into the basin of the Cross, and set Himself to wipe from the universe the foul stains of sin.' Or put round the other way, 'He is about to lay aside the garment of humiliation, and to enter into the presence of God, girded to make abiding intercession - in virtue of His shed Blood - for the maintenance of a life, walk, work, and fellowship of holiness on the part of His servants.'
(continued with # 5)