The New Covenant that Changes Everything
Text: Hebrews 10:15-25
613. Jewish tradition teaches that there are 613 commandments in the laws of Moses. Could you even imagine keeping straight 613 commandments? Most people I’ve met don’t even know all 10 Commandments. How could you keep straight 613? There were laws about cleanliness, laws about family, laws about civil justice, laws about worship and festivals and sacrifices. 613 laws to obey.
These laws served as a sort of hedge for the people of Israel. They set them apart as being “different” than all the other people of the world. They were cleaner. They were more pure. They were more sanctified in their living. They were more dedicated to their God. Thus, God told them that if they obeyed he would be their God and they would be his people. If they obeyed, that is.
When they didn’t obey, that’s what the system of sacrifices was for. If you committed this sin, then this sacrifice was required. And if you committed that sin, then that sacrifice was required. The message was loud and clear: God is holy. If there is sin, there must be death and bloodshed to pay for it. Read the rest of this entry
A Blessed Fellowship
1. With Jesus
2. With each other
Text: 1 Corinthians 10:16-17
Have you ever wondered what it was like to live in the Garden of Eden? That must have been spectacular. No weeds. No sweat. No back pain or arthritis. No sadness. No stress. No calendars or appointments. No worms in your apples. No bills. No high priced gasoline. Only peace, perfection, and paradise.
But there’s one other aspect of the Garden of Eden that would have been fantastic. Perfect harmony and communion with God. Adam and Eve were created in God’s image. That means that they were perfect, righteous, and holy like God. What would it have been like to live in perfect peace with God? No fear of God because you had nothing to hide because you hadn’t done anything wrong. You knew his word and his will and you always kept them. If God showed himself and appeared, you wouldn’t run away because it was normal and perhaps even expected. You were in perfect harmony and fellowship and communion with God. What was there to be afraid of?
That’s hard for us to imagine, impossible to imagine even, because all we know is the exact opposite. All we know is fear of God and disharmony and disunity that come from shame and guilt. Read the rest of this entry
Midweek Lent 3
My Song is Love Unknown: My Friend Indeed
Text: Matthew 26:47-50a
What was Judas thinking? As he walked down that dusty road to the Garden of Gethsemane leading a raucous rabble sent from the chief priests, what was he thinking? How many times before had he been in Gethsemane with Jesus while he was quietly praying and meditating? How many times had he walked on that very path with Jesus as he was preaching and teaching? How many times had he been warned by Jesus about the Pharisees and chief priests, the group he now sided with?
What was Judas thinking earlier that Thursday evening in the Upper Room? What did he think as the friend and teacher he agreed to betray stooped down and washed his dirty feet? What did he think when he realized Jesus knew that his heart was just as dirty as his feet? He was warned by Jesus. He was called out as the one who would hand him over. The other disciples didn’t understand what Jesus meant. But Judas knew. He knew that Jesus knew. But yet he didn’t stop. What was he thinking as he ran out of that room and left Jesus and his disciples behind? Read the rest of this entry