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Who ended World War One?

Now while they were eating (Jerusalem, AD 30), Jesus having taken bread, having expressed thanks, having broken, and having given to the disciples, said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and, when he had given thanks, he gave to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this - being poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins - is my covenant blood. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Matthew 26: 26-29
In the kitchen of a family home in northern France there’s a large colour print of the signing of the First World War Armistice in 1918. These are common in France maybe because they show France’s Marechal Foch as victor. 

Being commander in chief of the allied armies he was one of the signatories, along with Britain’s First Sea Lord, Admiral Wester Wemyss.

Have you ever wondered who signed on behalf of Germany? Who capitulated? Was it the defeated Kaiser Wilhelm II the German Emperor and absolute King of Prussia? No. He had abdicated before that. He took refuge in neutral Holland. Was it the wartime Imperial Chancellor? No. In October 1918 he handed over his supreme position to another to admit defeat. That other also resigned. It was Friedrich Ebert, the leader of a minority political party, who eventually gave instructions to sign the Armistice.


‘The first step on the way to victory is to recognize the enemy - within.’ (Anon.)
The incident in bold above took place in the upper room in Jerusalem on the night before Jesus willingly submitted himself to crucifixion as a criminal. Unlike the Kaiser and his Imperial Chancellor.

In particular, “Now, while they were eating, Jesus, ….. took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you for this - being poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins - is my covenant blood.” Covenant blood. Contract blood. Armistice-type blood.

A covenant is a special type of formal, enforceable contract. A covenant is signed by only one party. It has to be signed or sealed in a formal way because the one who signs has obligations towards others whilst those others have no reciprocal obligations whatsoever and only receive the benefits. 

Under the World War One Amnesty, defeated Germany had all the obligations whilst the allies had the benefits (which had cost the allies dearly). Under the covenant in Jesus’ blood, he willingly had all the obligations and sinners have the benefits (which cost them nothing). He indicated very clearly that his covenant benefits would all flow to others. “Drink of it.” “For many,” he said.

In the upper room in Jerusalem in AD 30, Jesus made it abundantly clear that he was going, willingly and expressing thankfulness, to drink the cup which he had decided to drink. Jesus inside was giving thanks as he was preparing to go under, to be defeated and killed by the religious, political and military leaders of his day. 

Back to World War one. The formerly-strong Central Powers, by November 1918, had had their actual extreme weakness displayed. They were defeated. But had that defeat changed their bellicose leaders inside


‘A victory inside of us is ten thousand times more glorious than any victory can be outside of us.’ (Henry Ward Beecher, social reformer, 1813-1887) 
The four German Armistice signatories in the Forest of Compiegne give us the answer in the closing declaration of the Armistice. They declared this, “The German people, which has held its own for 50 months against a world of enemies, will, in spite of any force that may be brought to bear upon it, preserve its freedom and unity. A people of 70,000,000 suffers but does not die.” Facing awful judgment, we too fight back. Even knowing our guilt inside, we still reject Jesus’ covenant of forgiveness.

What a challenge is this man from above who chose to drink the cup of a criminal’s death – a sinner’s death - for many. 

He provided for me a covenant, an armistice, a contract of forgiveness signed in brokenness and blood. His covenant was not given in defeat. It was given in victory. Will you be defeated? Or defeated by Jesus, forgiven and changed inside?

Sinner Syvret

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