Morning Musing: Hebrews 7:1-10

“For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of God Most High, met Abraham and blessed him as he returned from defeating the kings, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means king of righteousness, then also, king of Salem, meaning king of peace. Without father, mother, or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever. Now consider how great this man was: even Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the plunder to him. The sons of Levi who receive the priestly office have a command according to the law to collect a tenth from the people  — that is, from their brothers and sisters — though they have also descended from Abraham. But one without this lineage collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed the one who had the promises. Without a doubt, the inferior is blessed by the superior. In the one case, men who will die receive a tenth, but in the other case, Scripture testifies that he lives. And in a sense Levi himself, who receives a tenth, has paid a tenth through Abraham, for he was still within his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

We’ve seen his name over and over in this letter. I even stopped and gave some background on who he was. Here at last, though, we arrive at the part where the author of Hebrews finally explains who Melchizedek is and why he has been using him as an illustration of the kind of priest Jesus is vis-a-vis the Levitical priesthood. I included the whole block of text about it here so you didn’t have to click through to read it all. Like the big block from chapter 5 we looked at a few weeks ago, I couldn’t break this up. We’ll take the rest of chapter seven in slightly smaller bits as he draws more contrasts between Melchizedek and Jesus and the Levitical priesthood. For now, though, let’s talk through what’s going on here.

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Morning Musing: Matthew 26:39

“Going a little farther, he fell facedown and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

There are some parts of the Christian life that are pretty easy to sell. The love and forgiveness and eternal life practically offer themselves to newcomers. Having God on your side and with you all the time doesn’t hurt either. There are some parts, though, that are a little less customer-friendly sounding. One of those is put on display here in Jesus’ conversation with His Father shortly before going to the cross. Let’s talk this morning about what happens when our will and God’s will aren’t the same.

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Morning Musing: Mark 15:15

“Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them; and after having Jesus flogged, he handed him over to be crucified.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

There are some characters without whom a particular story would simply not be the same. Now, of course the main characters are vital to the narrative, but I’m talking about the secondary characters. These are the men and women (or some other mythological or animal or alien creature) in supporting roles, but who play their role or are written into the role so well they make the story work. I’m thinking about characters like Samwise Gamgee from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Frodo is obviously the protagonist, but without Sam, he never would have completed his quest. The story simply wouldn’t have been the same. There’s a reason one of the main Oscar categories is best supporting actor and actress. Well, in the story of Jesus’ crucifixion, Pilate plays this kind of a role. Let’s spend just a few minutes together this morning talking about him.

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Morning Musing: Mark 8:33

“But turning around and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are not thinking about God’s concerns but human concerns.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever gotten more than you bargained for? Sometimes this feels like a very good thing. I once dropped four tokens on a Kung Fu Panda video game at an arcade where you had to punch these pads in the right sequence…and won it. The whole thing. Right in front of my kids. I was super dad. We got so many tickets all three boys went home with playground balls. If you know how arcade reward transactions go, you’ll understand we hit the jackpot. Maybe you’ve hit an actual jackpot. You put that one last nickel in the slot, pulled the handle, and filled up your bucket. (Disclaimer: I’ve never actually been to a casino, but that’s how it looks like it works on TV.) Sometimes, though, it doesn’t feel so nice. You playfully tease someone after a day that’s been much harder than you realize and instead of playfully teasing back, they bite your head off. What Peter experienced here was a bit more in line with this second situation. His getting burned, though, offers a lesson we do well to learn (spoiler alert: it’s not that we shouldn’t argue with Jesus).

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The Story of Salvation

We’ve been talking all month about the great plans of our faithful God. His plans were always for our salvation and this past Sunday we dug into exactly what that means. What does it mean for you and for me that Jesus came to save us from our sins. Read on to find out. Also, this will be the final entry this year. I will look forward to continuing our journey in Mark with you starting next week. See you then and Happy New Year!

The Story of Salvation

Well, we made it. Christmas has come and gone. And, should our Lord tarry, we are only a couple of days from kickstarting a whole new calendar year. Who’s ready for that? 2020 is almost in the rearview mirror. What a relief, right? Have you at least enjoyed the season we’ve been through? I mean, much of it hasn’t been the same as we would have preferred, but it was Christmas. How could you not enjoy Christmas at least a little bit? Some of you are thinking, “Easy. Try me.” Yet when we really understand what Christmas is all about, it really is pretty hard not to enjoy at least some part of it.

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