Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 2:8b-9

“For in subjecting everything to him, he left nothing that is not subject to him. As it is, we do not yet see everything subjected to him. But we do see Jesus – made lower than the angels for a short time so that by God’s grace he might taste death for everyone – crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What is it that makes Jesus so great? That, perhaps more than just about anything else, is the question the author of Hebrews is seeking to answer over the course of his letter. While there are several good answers to the question generally and three in particular to which he gives the lion’s share of his attention, we see his arguing for one here that may not be something we think about all that often. Let’s dig in to what he’s talking about this morning.

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Good Friday 2022

Today is Good Friday, a day set aside to focus our attention on the cross of Christ. While Easter is rightly the highlight of our year as followers of Jesus, Easter and the empty tomb came by the road of the cross. Without dying, Jesus couldn’t have risen from the grave. Today is the day we remember the weight and cost of our sin. It is also the day we remember the incredible grace and mercy of our God. Each year, we have a special service here at First Baptist Oakboro to reflect on all of this together. Tonight will be no exception. Here’s what I’m going to share with my congregation this evening. May it be a blessing to you as you prepare for celebrating our risen Lord this Sunday.

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Morning Musing: Mark 15:43-45

“Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Sanhedrin who was himself looking forward to the kingdom of God, came and boldly went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’s body. Pilate was surprised that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had already died. When he found out from the centurion, he gave the corpse to Joseph.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Conspiracy theories are everywhere we look these days. Some are new. Some are enduring old ones. There are still people, for instance, who believe the moon landing was a fake and that we never went. There are all kinds of conspiracy theories surrounding the death of JFK. More than a quarter of the country believes the government is hiding aliens in Area 51. Nearly a quarter is convinced 9/11 was an inside job. The trouble with conspiracy theories and those who have bought into them is that there is no way to convince them otherwise. Any evidence to the contrary is automatically discounted as part of the cover-up. You could fly someone who is convinced the moon landing was fake to the moon itself, but they’d just insist it was all an elaborate hoax. Well, when it comes to Jesus, one of the most enduring conspiracy theories is that He didn’t really die on the cross. At the risk of being a part of the cover-up, let’s talk this morning about why that is absolute nonsense.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 15:37-39

“Jesus let out a loud cry and breathed his last. Then the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. When the centurion, who was standing opposite him, saw the way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Did you ever have anything as a kid that your parents made off limits to you? What was it? Sometimes parents put restrictions on what their kids can access as a matter of selfish convenience, but most of the time, they do it for an entirely better reason than that. My parents made throwing dirt clods from the garden at the shed off limits for me when I was growing up. If you’re wondering why they had to do that at all, just put yourself in the mind of an elementary-aged boy and you’ll understand. The explosion of dirt when those clods hit the wall of the shed was just so satisfying. I ignored this restriction, of course, and soon thereafter broke the window in the side of the shed with an errant throw. That was why they put that restriction in place, by the way. Other times a restriction is put in place because the thing on the other side of the line is genuinely harmful for us. There are fences and no trespassing signs around power substations. Those are to protect people from being electrocuted. Restrictions generally have reasons. Well, the people of Israel had a restriction around God. You didn’t go into His presence unless you were prepared for it. This restriction was actually put in place by God Himself. And it held until God took it down. Actually, He ripped it in half. I mentioned yesterday the tearing of the temple veil when Jesus died. This morning let’s dig a little deeper into just what that meant.

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Morning Musing: Mark 15:29-32

“Those who passed by were yelling insults at him, shaking their heads, and saying, ‘Ha! The one who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself by coming down from the cross!’ In the same way, the chief priests with the scribes were mocking him among themselves and saying, ‘He saved others, but he cannot save himself! Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross, so that we may see and believe.’ Even those who were crucified with him taunted him.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever made somebody’s bad day worse? There aren’t many things that can make you feel smaller than that. It often happens in a moment when, at first, we don’t even realize what’s happening. The other person is dealing with some awful bit of bad news, and in a moment of weakness offends us somehow. For our part, instead of responding graciously, we snap right back and then double down on our retort, adding insult to the injury she’s already suffering. Then we learn the truth. Or perhaps you’ve been a victim of this kind of thing. You were having a terrible day for some reason and somebody else came along and started dumping their junk all over you, making you feel even worse than you already did. That’s an awful place to be. It’s also a place Jesus understands with intimate familiarity. Let’s talk about it.

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