Morning Musing: Hebrew 6:19-20

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. Jesus has entered there on our behalf as a forerunner, because he has become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” (CSB – Read the chapter)‬‬

In the ancient world, it was broadly understood that you weren’t going to have an audience with the gods. Ever. They were bigger, higher, and more powerful than you. No one thought about them as particularly righteous, but they were gods and you were not. No, getting into the presence of the gods took the right kind of sacrifices offered by the approved representatives following the right set of instructions at the right time. This one person went into the gods’ presence on your behalf. You never got such a privilege yourself. There was forever a distance between you and them…and you and Him. We were never saved by that, God was never happy with that, so Jesus fixed it. Here, the author of Hebrews tells us how, but in terms that would have made more sense to his audience than they do us. Let’s talk about it.

Read the rest…

Morning Musing: Mark 2:27

“Then he told them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.’”‬ ‭(CSB‬‬ – Read the chapter)

Why do we have rules? What is their purpose? At the most basic level there are two purposes. One is to restrain. The other is to teach. These two are not mutually exclusive of one another. Some rules are intended both to restrain and teach. They restrain behavior that is bad while actively teaching behavior that is good. Good rules do this. Out of balance, though, things can get messy quickly. What we see here is Jesus teaching the Pharisees a lesson on the purpose of God’s rules. Let’s pay attention to it.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 2:24-26

“The Pharisees said to him, ‘Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?’ He said to them, ‘Have you never read what David and those who were with him did when he was in need and hungry — how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest and ate the bread of the Presence — which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests — and also gave some to his companions?’”‬ ‭(CSB‬‬ – Read the chapter)

One of the standard excuses or arguments kids have always made with their parents when trying to either justify something they’ve done or else plead for something they want is this: “But all the other kids are doing it!” The simple logic here is that if everyone else is doing it, then it must not be a bad thing to do. Therefore, they should get to do it as well. What we know as older and wiser parents (right???) is that right and wrong is not set by group consensus, and so what all the other kids are doing is not going to have any bearing on what we do. Why am I thinking about this today? Because it seems like Jesus was using this kind of reasoning here and I’m not sure what to do about it.

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Strange Fire

This past Sunday morning we continued our series, Bible Stories to Make You Squirm, with what I think is about the hardest story in the whole of the Scriptures. I didn’t want to write this sermon. But if all Scripture is God-breathed, then we need to be able to deal with this part of it too. Check out what makes it so hard and what we should do with it below. Thanks for reading.

Strange Fire

I didn’t want to write this sermon.  Can I say that out loud?  I didn’t want to write this sermon.  Have you ever felt that way?  I mean, probably not about a sermon, but maybe about something else you’ve done.  You did it.  You had to do it.  It needed to be done.  But you didn’t want to do it.  Maybe you were helping somebody out and you knew it was going to wind up being a lot of effort for you for a little gratitude from them.  Perhaps you were given some task at work that you knew was just not going to be a pleasant undertaking—and you were right, by the way—but the boss asked for it and you were stuck with it.  You may have experienced this kind of feeling in yet some other way.  I don’t know what your experience was.  All I know is that I didn’t want to write this sermon. 

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Digging in Deeper: Romans 10:3

“For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.”  (ESV)

Paul’s argument here is that while the Jewish people were striving to be in a right relationship with God (that is, to obtain righteousness), they were going about it as if that relationship depended on them, not God.  Read the rest…