Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 13:20-25

“Now may the God of peace, who brough up from the dead our Lord Jesus – the great Shepherd of the sheep – through the blood of the everlasting covenant, equip you with everything good to do his will, working in us what is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Brothers and sisters, I urge you to receive this message of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. Be aware that our brother Timothy has been released. If he comes soon enough, he will be with me when I see you. Greet all your leaders and all the saints. Those who are from Italy send you greetings. Grace be with you all.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

At long last, today we arrive at our big finish. This has been quite a journey. We are going to end today with a blessing. It’s not a blessing from me, but from the author. As we reflect on where we’ve come, let’s talk about this blessing and where we go from here.

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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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Morning Musing: Hebrews 9:13-14

“For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow, sprinkling those who are defiled, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works so that we can serve the living God?” (CSB – Read the chapter)

There are three kinds of people in the world: those who use only name-brand products, those who use only off-brand products, and those who really don’t care. Off-brand products are designed and intended to give you the look and feeling (or flavor) of the name-brand without their cost. But while some off-brands can get pretty close – close enough that even a picky eater or fussy dresser can be satisfied – the honest truth is that there’s a difference. In most cases, the name-brand products are the name-brand products for a reason. We are walking through an explanation of how the new covenant came to be here in Hebrews 9. What we see here is essentially a brand comparison. The new covenant versus the old covenant is a little like a name-brand product versus an off-brand product. Let’s dig into this together.

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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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Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 7:11-22

“Now if perfection came through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the law), what further need was there for another priest to appear, said to be according to the order of Melchizedek and not according to the order of Aaron? For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must be a change of law as well. For the one these things are spoken about belonged to a different tribe. No one from it has served at the altar. Now it is evident that our Lord came from Judah, and Moses said nothing about that tribe concerning priests. And this becomes clearer if another priest like Melchizedek appears, who did not become a priest based on a legal regulation about physical descent but based on the power of an indestructible life. For it has been testified: You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. So the previous command is annulled because it was weak and unprofitable (for the law perfected nothing), but a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. None of this happened without an oath. For others became priests without an oath, but he became a priest with an oath made by the one who said to him: The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever.” Because of this oath, Jesus has also become the guarantee of a better covenant.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever upgraded your phone? I suspect so. Wireless companies will leave you alone for a little while, but then the pressure begins to ratchet up until you just about can’t avoid it. You can try to hold out just to stick it to them, but sometimes it’s easier to bite the bullet and play their game. I held out on even joining the smart phone revolution until the fifth generation iPhone released. I went from that to an 8 Plus, and from there to the 12 I currently have. I am not at all the kind of person who looks to upgrade to whatever the latest model is. I try to use one device until it just about doesn’t work anymore before stepping up. Either way, when you get a new phone, my guess is that you don’t continue using your old phone at all. It has been replaced by something better. The odds are good that your upgrade came with the condition of the trade-in of your old one. Once you do that, it’s gone and you’re never going to see it again. The author of Hebrews here is talking about the transition of the old covenant to the new with the appointment of Jesus as high priest. The whole thing works a little like upgrading your old phone. Let’s join the conversation to try to wrap our heads and hearts around his argument.

Continue reading “Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 7:11-22”