Morning Musing: John 1:4-5

“In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

We live in a world of darkness. There is darkness that is literal. Some people are still without power. When the deep freeze and high winds hit this area just before Christmas, lots of folks around here were without power through the holiday weekend. But for some, a lack of power is a daily reality. Their quality of life isn’t all that far removed from where people lived many generations ago. We may occasionally get nostalgic for that time when watching a show or movie about it, but we would not have really wanted to live back then. There is even more darkness, though, that is spiritual. And although that spiritual darkness is diminishing in some places, it seems to be rapidly advancing in others. What we need in this, or any darkness is light. Let’s talk this morning about where we can find it.

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Morning Musing: Matthew 19:21

“‘If you want to be perfect,’ Jesus said to him, ‘go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When Jesus was in Jerusalem ahead of His final week on earth, there was a moment when a bunch of children came up and were shouting praises to Jesus. In a culture when children were expected to be seen and not heard, this was a pretty significant break with tradition, so naturally, the Pharisees fussed about it to Jesus. He responded by quoting a line from Psalm 8:2 praising children for spouting of divine wisdom. “Out of the mouths of babes,” Well, I had an out-of-the-mouths-of-babes moment this week. If you’ll indulge me this morning, I’d like to tell you about it.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 10:11-14

“Every priest stands day after day ministering and offering the same sacrifices time after time, which can never take away sins. But this man, after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God. He is now waiting until his enemies are made his footstool. For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are sanctified.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

A few years ago, and still on billboards in at least the southeast, there was an ad campaign called, “Pass It On.” Each ad highlighted a different character virtue in some encouraging, fun, and creative way. One of my favorite commercials features parents who have taken their little boy to a piano concert. They realize the child is missing when the curtain goes up and they see him on stage…at the piano…pecking out Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Suddenly, the master pianist walks out on stage, reaches around the boy, and adds his own incredible flourish as everyone cheers. The kid thought himself good, but only when the master filled out his skills did he create something truly masterful. Jesus was the master. We’re the novices. This is what the author explores here. Let’s join him.

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Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 10:1-4

“Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the reality itself of those things, it can never perfect the worshipers by the same sacrifices they continually offer year after year. Otherwise, wouldn’t they have stopped being offered, since the worshipers, purified once and for all, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in the sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year after year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

For the last several weeks we have been talking through the author of Hebrews’ argument that the new covenant Jesus made between us and God by His sacrificial death is greater than the old covenant God made between Him and Israel and which was rooted in the Law of Moses. The author has offered one look after another into the old covenant’s various points of weakness and shown how the new covenant resolves them. Here in chapter 10, as he is drawing near the end of this line of argument, he starts out with a statement that is perhaps the most direct he’s been so far. It’s hard to fathom how much a shock this would have been to his original audience. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 9:11-12

“But Christ has appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come. In the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands (that is, not of this creation), he entered the most holy place once for all time, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Last time, we talked about the fact taht the old covenant ministry, rooted as it was in the law, never really accomplished what we most needed it to accomplish. We’ll address that point a great deal more directly in a couple of weeks, Lord willing, as we get into chapter 10. That revelation, though, prompts a rather nagging question: How can we get our hands on what we most need? The author of Hebrews begins to answer that question here. Our next several conversations are going to be all about how the new covenant was made including, next week, a three-part look at specifically why it is better than the old. And rather than taking it in big sections like we bit off last week, I’m going to do my best to break it down into smaller bits. Let’s talk about the new covenant God made with us in Christ and how it came to be.

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