Hebrews 4:14-5:10 – Our High Priest

Read Hebrews 4:14-5:10

The verse that spoke loudest to me today was v. 16, “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” I have read that over and over several times. What an honor! We can come boldly before God. Jesus has made that possible. Before Jesus, our access to God was limited by communication through another human, a high priest.

Only those chosen by God could serve as a high priest. What a great honor. With this great privilege came quite a responsibility to the people. High priests were to go before God with the prayers and sacrifices of the people, only to turn around and go to the people with a blessing from God.  It all changed when God appointed his Son, Jesus, to be our high priest. We now have access to God and can come boldly. Continue reading “Hebrews 4:14-5:10 – Our High Priest”

Luke 1:26-38 – Favor With God

Read Luke 1:26-38

Now it’s Mary’s turn to be visited by an angel with some unbelievable news. I imagine she is happy to be engaged, looking forward to her new life with Joseph as her husband. Perhaps there are wedding preparations underway. Weddings in those days  and in that culture were quite different, sometimes lasting for days. There would be a lot of people attending, sometimes the whole village.

But now, an angel appears and turns these plans upside down. But don’t we all long to hear these words, “for you have found favor with God!” That had to stop Mary in her tracks. As unbelievable as it sounded, she seemed much more willing and accepting of the message than Zechariah had of his own message in the last reading.

After trying to clarify how exactly a virgin could give birth, Mary was at peace. I love her words, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”  She was indeed the Lord’s servant. She was going to give him all she had – her body, her future, her trust. How willing are we to do the same?

One of my favorite Christmas songs is Mary, Did You Know?  Click here for song. The words are so beautiful. Having been pregnant myself, I know the joy of having a baby growing inside. But how different it would be to know the baby was God?! At each thought, there had to be a extra jolt of joy, coupled with fear.

As young moms, we already fear the responsibility. We already fear that we will fail our children. Imagine if your child was God himself. God chose to come to earth as one of us so that he could feel what we feel. While he created us, to truly understand our weaknesses, he had to become one of us.

I really respect Mary and her bravery. She understood her culture and what this would do to her reputation. From this reading however, it is clear that all she could do was thank God and surrender to him. We should take this good example and be ready to surrender ourselves. Are you holding yourself back from a full surrender to God?

What job has God given you to do? What do you think your purpose is for God’s kingdom? While we have all been gifted something, we don’t all use those gifts. Our purpose is to use the gifts God has given us to help those around us, to further his kingdom here on earth, and to make a difference. We are God’s hands and feet,  and we should be ready to do his will and serve others as he would serve.

Let’s pray. Father God, I thank you for the gifts you have given me. The joy and peace I feel when I use them for your glory is astounding. My wish for everyone is that they would experience this true joy. Don’t let me ignore your voice. I want to serve you, help others, and make this world a better place. Soften the hearts of those who resist. Provide understanding to those who aren’t following you. Draw me closer to your heart, oh God. Let me, too, find favor with you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


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