FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT
God promises a new covenant (31: 31 – 34)
This new covenant will provide a fresh start for Israel and Judah. A new heart is created in the people and a new Spirit is given to them.
Our Old Testament lesson today comes from the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah lived during the reign of King Josiah of Judah. When Jeremiah was about twenty years old he was called by God to be a prophet.
God set Jeremiah a difficult task, he had to warn the people of a coming disaster. God told Jeremiah that he was to tell God’s people that Jerusalem was going to fall. The message he preached was so unpopular that at one stage he was put in prison.
Jeremiah did not only speak to the nation as a whole, but he also spoke directly to each individual person. His message underlined the fact that each person had to stop sinning, obey God’s law and follow God in love and truth and that God would forgive their sins. Jeremiah warned the people that they would not be blessed by God just because his temple was in Jerusalem.
Jeremiah told the people that God would make a new Covenant with them. The new covenant would include both the Jews and the Gentiles and would be available to all people. The new covenant would provide a fresh start for the people of Israel and Judah.
This time instead of writing the new covenant on a stone tablet or on a scroll and asking the people to memorize it. God said that the new covenant would be written on people’s hearts. God promised that he would be the God of the new covenant, just as he was the God of the old covenant people who loved him. As Christians we believe that Jesus brought the new Covenant into being.
Revd Peta May