Matthew 26:27-28 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. |
Reflecting upon his work and trying to foster unity in the midst of the Philippians' congregations Paul states, Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Messiah I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all (Philippians 2:14-17). In this statement Paul exhorts the people towards unity, but anticipating the possibility that his exhortation may fall on deaf ears, as they often do, he compares his efforts to the wine libation poured upon God's altar (Numbers 15:7).
R. Kipling said in his famous poem, 'If', 'If you can meet success and failure and treat these two importers the same way … you'll be a man, my son'. It is in that same spirit that Paul toiled teaching Torah to the nations thus fulfilling the promises found in the prophecy of Amos (Acts 15:15-18 quoting Amos 9: 11-12). He worked tirelessly without any assurance of success. His only joy and reward was the knowledge of answering Abba's call.
We must learn to emulate that attitude. 'I serve and audience of one' should be the all-encompassing theme behind all we do. Our sole and only pleasure should be our Father's satisfied look of pleasure and approbation at our feeble attempts to serve Him.
While waiting for Nero to utter his death sentence, for Paul the 'wine libation' reflected an even deeper imagery. He writes to Timothy, For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
In all these things the faithful apostle emulated his beloved Master Yeshua. May we also in this life and within the framework of our divinely appointed responsibilities learn to emulate our Master whose blood was poured as a wine libation on the altar of the Father's will and work of universal redemption.
Patrick Gabriel Lumbroso www.thelumbrosos.com
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