Thursday

26 October 2017

“But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, ‘he sat down at the right hand of God’, and since then has been waiting ‘until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.’ For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” (vv. 12-14)

Psalm: Psalm 110


Background

If the book of Hebrews had a soundtrack, these few verses would be filled with all the chords and themes of the previous chapters, and would be a rousing finale. These few verses offer little new in terms of content, but ultimately serve as a conclusion for all the ideas which have shaped the letter's key argument.

This short passage cross-references a number of ancient scriptural references, which have been interwoven throughout the rest of the letter. It is almost as if each nod to the ancient past is given a final curtain call in this encore.

We are meant to notice that the key reference point for this letter is grounded in the prophetic promises of Jeremiah 31. It is through Jesus that the Holy Spirit has been given to people - writing and embodying the laws of God in people's hearts, rather than through process and ritual. Jesus is the fulfilment of the ancient promise of a Messiah. The writer is again encouraging the readers not to look back and rely on their expectation of salvation, but rather to set their attention on Jesus as the consummation of all that has been set in motion.

Another echo to further back in the letter focuses on chapters 5-8. Through imagery present in Psalm 110, Jesus is seated at God's right hand. It has been noted that Jesus being seated is yet another allusion to the completion of Jesus' work - like sitting down at the end of a hard day. Jesus has the place of honour in the heavenly realm; and again, the invitation is for us to participate in this holy relationship.


To Ponder

  • Make a brew and put your feet up, and re-read this passage. How do you understand it after a busy day?
  • What is your favourite story ending? Why does a good ending matter?
  • What religious duties do you perform time and time again? How do they help your discipleship? What limits your experience of God's grace?
  • What one thing can you do today, which demonstrates forgiveness to someone else?


Bible notes author: The Revd Joanne Cox-Darling

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