Jesus, the Covenant Man
1 John 2:12: “I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of His name. I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.”
Notice the sequence there. He writes to 1) dear children, 2) fathers, 3) young men. Now he starts over again to make sure we didn’t miss the sequence:
“I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the Word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”
God doesn’t make mistakes. To the human progression, that’s out of order, right? You ought to have children, young men, and then fathers. In a human progression it’s out of sequence, but in God’s progression that’s exactly right. Let me show you how that works.
First of all, children…. I want to express this to you basically in terms of the covenant that God made with man. What we’ll see is that God did not actually make that covenant with man. Not exactly. In a sense He did, but in another sense, He didn’t. Luke 22:20 talks about the blood of the new covenant that would be poured out, and so Jesus was going to pour out that new covenant.
On this sheet here, I have “Jesus, the covenant man.” You know how He’s called many times, the Son of God. And many other times He’s called the “Son of Man.” You all register with that, right? The reason for that has to do with covenants.
What you’ll find is if you travel around the world, even today, is that covenants are something that are well understood by people that really don’t know that much about civilization at all. Covenants are still very much a part of their lives. The tribes in Africa that have had no exposure to so-called “civilization,” they understand covenants. All the way back in Abraham’s time, God took something that was in nature itself and in man’s nature and chose those terms to express Himself to us.
Some things about covenants that if you were to go to Africa now you’d find out is true is that the covenant makers always have representatives. In other words, you would take one man, maybe the chief, maybe a strong young man…You’d take one man from Tribe A and one man from Tribe B and they would meet each other on common ground and cut this thing called a covenant. So there’s a representative from each of these tribes. Not everybody is involved in this thing. It’s a representative.
Secondly, there’s something that’s very common, though not always, is that they would cut their palms. You’ve heard of blood brothers right? They’d cut their palms and rub them together. That, by the way, is where we got handshakes from. You’re making covenant with a person when you shake their hand. That’s where that came from. They would cut their palms and mingle their blood together. After that, typically, they would take gunpowder and rub it into those wounds. That would cause the wound to swell up and would make that a permanent scar.
Then when they went to war with another tribe, they would send out their covenant man who would show that they had cut covenant with somebody else. And if this tribe decides to mess with Tribe A, they’re going to have to deal with somebody else too. They don’t know who, but they’re going to have to deal with somebody else too. And that’s the nature of the covenant. That’s why the covenant representative, and that’s why the gunpowder, so that wound would stay there and they could always show that they were in covenant with somebody, and they better not mess with us, because we’re in covenant with somebody.
Then fourthly part of what happens in covenant -- you can see this with Jonathon and David for example – it’s a real good example. They exchange assets and they also exchange liabilities. Your enemies become my enemies. If I make covenant with you, your enemies become my enemies. My enemies become your enemies. My riches, my assets, my friends become your friends and your assets, and they normally would exchange cloaks or belts. You can go back and see this in David and Jonathan and a number of other cases. With Indians they’d always smoke the peace pipe.
There’s this covenant action that happens and this cup, this blood of the new covenant. It was a covenant meal they were sharing. And that’s what you’re doing when you take the Lord’s Supper. You’re re-inaugurating this covenant that you have made with the Father through Jesus Christ. You’re celebrating that covenant. You’re showing the palm. You’re saying, “We are in covenant.”
Next time you shake hands with somebody, think about that. You’re taking on their enemies, and you are also taking on their assets. You can weed that out as you go. You better be careful who you shake hands with, because that’s where that came from.
Now the last thing that I’m going to talk about, is that there is death to the covenant breaker. That’s always part of covenant. Their honor -- you know this is true of other cultures -- is worth more than their life. When you’ve cut covenant with somebody, it will cost your death to break that covenant. You do not break covenant.
That’s why the Indians got slaughtered. They couldn’t understand. They made a covenant with the white man, and the next thing they know, they’re getting slaughtered. Nobody breaks covenant! That’s impossible! You can’t break covenant. As I understand it, they didn’t have a term in their language for breaking covenant. The word didn’t exist.
David and Jonathan were the same way. David said “Hey, let me be dead if I ever break my covenant with you, Jonathan!” That’s the way it was. In fact, that covenant goes down through the generations too. And that might be a sixth thing to write down. Because remember David went and got Mephibosheth and brought him into his house because he had made covenant with Jonathan. Jonathan’s dad was Saul and David said, “Is there anybody in Saul’s household that’s still alive, because I have a covenant with them. I am going to bring him into my household and share my assets with him. I have a covenant with my friend Jonathan and my life is his life. Even though I’ve never met this character, my life is his life.”
David had something going for him. When King Saul found out that Jonathan had made a covenant with David, Saul was furious because he knew that if he killed David, he would actually have to kill his own son too. He might not have done it, but that went through his mind because they understood covenants.
Now we’ve got the covenant man, Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:6: “…to the praise of God’s glorious grace which He has freely given us in the One He loves.” Our grace is because of the one God loves. Who is the one God loves? Jesus. He’s given us His glorious grace in the One He loves.
Psalm 89: 27: “I will also appoint Him my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth.” Who’s that? Who’s the firstborn from the dead according to Paul? Jesus. “I will also appoint Him my firstborn, the most exalted king of the earth, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. I will maintain My love to Him forever, and My covenant with Him will never fail.”
What I want you to see is that God made covenant with Jesus as the representative man of the human race, the Son of Man. Jesus is man’s representative to God, the Son of Man. Jesus is God’s representative to man, the Son of God. If you look in John 20:20 you will see that when He appeared to them after He was raised from the dead, He had those covenant marks on His hands. He said, “Let me show you My hands, My side, My feet.” All the other scars from His beating, from His crown of thorns, were gone. But He carried the marks on His hands, feet, and side with Him through the grave. He carried the mark of the covenant with Him. “I saw a Lamb looking as though He had been slain” (Rev. 5). He is worthy to be praised because He purchased men for God by His blood.
What happens is, when we call on the Name of the Lord what we’re doing is, we’re sending Covenant Man out before satan and we’re saying, “Hey, if you’re going to mess with us you’ve got to mess with Him first! We’re in covenant with the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!” We can’t stand it alone, but we’re in covenant with that King, and we don’t have anything to worry about. We call on the Name of the Lord. We’re calling on Covenant Man to go and to show Himself strong. He’s our Shield, He’s our Rock, He’s our Fortress. In Him we survive and more than that, prosper.
In 2 Cor. 5:21 it says that He became sin for us that we might become His righteousness. See that exchanging His strengths and our weaknesses. He takes on our liabilities and gives us His strengths. That’s the covenant that we’ve exchanged strengths and exchanged weaknesses with Him. We didn’t have any strengths to offer Him, and He didn’t have any weakness to offer us so it worked out real well. That’s the covenant that He has made with us. And in Him and through Him we have nothing to worry about. “Faith is the victory that overcomes the world.” When we join ourselves to Him by faith and we call on His Name in any situation we happen to find ourselves in, we’ve joined ourselves to the conquering King who has become the fulfillment of everything for our sake before the Father.
When God says, “I demand righteousness, I demand holiness, I demand wisdom, I demand strength,” we show Him the Covenant Man. We call on the Name of the Lord as our strength. We send Him as our righteousness. He is our righteousness. He is our holiness (1 Cor. 1). He is our Way, He is our Truth, He is our Life. No man comes to the Father except by Him.
God made His covenant with the only One who was ever faithful to the Father. The only One who would ever keep the covenant has become our representative, the representative of the human race, the Son of Man. “I saw the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the glory of God.” Hey! That takes on new meaning! Not “the Son of God” seated at the right hand of the glory of God, but “the Son of Man.” Man has penetrated through everything satan could throw at Him and has become victorious and ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father. We’ve got this awesome strength now and this awesome peace and fullness now because Jesus is our covenant keeper.