Tell him I’ll trade him! Me for her! Tell him!!
— “Last of the Mohicans”, Hawkeye begging Cora’s captors to take and kill him instead.

John 15:10-17
Mark 14:12-26
Jeremiah 31:27-34

I sat in a wooden pew. Candles lit the altar and illuminated the shadows of the ornately cavernous chapel ceiling. Organs and bagpipes sang traditional songs, and a radiant woman dressed in white walked expectantly down the long aisle on the arm of her father, who smiled with both joy and sadness.

Weddings allow us to glimpse the eternal and taste the holy. They reflect with a shimmering truth the promises and prospects to come. We were created to be united, to join in love and relationship.

But the union comes at a price and is sealed with a promise. Two cannot transform into one without a death. And a covenant that unites entails the cost of a life. In the Old Testament, an animal sacrifice marked the creation of a covenant. The body was divided in half, and blood flowed as a result of the creation through division.

We see this in the married life that follows the ceremony. After the toasts are made, the dances danced, and the honeymoon enjoyed, the couple must decipher the meaning of the agreement. To truly fuse two into one, the couple must die to their individual preferences and propensities. They enter into a relationship where their world is no longer their own. Personal energies shift toward serving another and loving another more than oneself.

A relationship with Jesus exists as a marriage: an agreement and a promise based in the ultimate love. Why? Why a covenant? Why a promise? Why a death? Because he loves us. He created us. He wants to be with us. He wants a relationship. A deep relationship.

On the eve of His death, Jesus gathered with the twelve disciples to demonstrate the intimacy of this covenant. He broke bread and poured wine. Jesus re-established Old Testament tradition but personally. He offered not an animal, but himself.

“This is my body. Broken for you. This is my blood. Drink in remembrance of me.”

What does it mean to die?  What does it mean to die to yourself?
What does it mean that Jesus died?
What does Jesus’ death mean to you?


© 2006


We live in relationship with him because of his death.


Jesus’ death marked a transition and a re-creation. The old covenant was exchanged for the new. The motivation remained love, but the terms altered. Before Jesus came, God existed above us. But after Jesus and through him, God exists above us, with us and in us.


A covenant costs a life. The life is his.