Mark 15:33-41 – Jesus Died for You

Read Mark 15:33-41

Sit with this text for a while today. Jesus has died. While we weren’t there, there were plenty of bystanders and Roman soldiers looking on. What did they see?

Our last reading gave us the time stamp of 9:00 a.m. for when Jesus was nailed to the cross. Three hours pass full of mocking and taunts. Then darkness falls for three more hours. That just doesn’t happen every day! “In that day,” says the Sovereign Lord, ‘I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth while it is still day.’” (Amos 8:9)

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Hebrews 10:19-25 – Live In Community

Read Hebrews 10:19-25

The Preacher has given us a lot to think about over the past several readings. How do you respond knowing “Jesus opened a new and life-giving way” giving us the ability to “go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him”? Have you let the magnitude of that promise really sink in?

Maybe you’re even asking yourself, “now what?” When our hearts start to overflow with gratitude and admiration, we call that praise and worship. Our response can simply be to honor God with our worship. When we fully trust God, we start to see the blessings in our lives more clearly. We can’t help but want to give thanks and praise to God.

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Hebrews 8:1-13 – Jesus Ushers in the New Covenant

Read Hebrews 8:1-13

The Preacher is making a big deal out of the fact Jesus is our High Priest. It truly is an honor to have Jesus ministering to us from his heavenly home. Jesus’ purposes on earth were many, but this is his destiny.  We can be thankful Jesus “is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.”

A covenant is a special kind of promise. In the covenant made between God and Israel at Sinai, the people vowed they would be obedient to God’s laws. God knew this old covenant was flawed and needed to be updated. The people had abused God’s promise by turning from him and relying on other gods. Sin is chronic, and the people were stuck in a pattern of disobedience. Yet God remained faithful.

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Hebrews 4:14-5:10 – Our High Priest

Read Hebrews 4:14-5:10

The idea of having a High Priest is a bit foreign to most of us because of what Jesus did for us. But the Preacher’s audience of Jews would have encountered a high priest regularly at festivals and animal sacrifices. A high priest was needed to cleanse their sins, up until 70 AD when animal sacrifice stopped. This reading does a good job of explaining the importance of what a high priest does for the people.

To be a high priest was a great honor given only by God. Even Jesus didn’t assume that would be his role despite fitting the criteria perfectly. It seems having the awareness of human weakness was important for the high priest. Until Jesus, even the high priests fell prey to sin and would have to cleanse themselves.

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