Monday 23 October 2017

Bible Book:

“How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God!” (v. 14)

Hebrews 9:1-3, 11-14 Monday 23 October 2017

Psalm: Psalm 107:1-16


Today's passage is packed full of powerful imagery and profoundlanguage - to the extent that these can prohibit us from getting togrips with what the writer is saying. It explores how Jesus breaksdown the traditional boundaries of religion and expectation - andopens up an invitation to a relationship with God through Christ,rather than through rite and ritual.

The letter to the Hebrews was likely penned to a community ofJewish converts who were constantly fearful of the persecution ofChristians, and was trying to hold on to the rituals and practicesof their Jewish heritage, whilst at the same time, trying to makesense of the Jesus story. For this original audience, therefore,understanding who is 'in' and who is not was fundamental to theirfaithfulness.

At first glance, it is easy to disregard this passage as one ofarchitecture rather than of theology. The key to these verses isthat God's dwelling - the Holy of Holies (verse 3) - is no longerthe secret, undisturbed place in the temple. Unlike the highpriest, who entered there annually on the Day of Atonement to offersacrifices on behalf of the people, Jesus provides the means forthe salvation of all people and the whole of creation through hisown sacrificial death and resurrection. This is not, therefore, adescription of the physicality of the temple, but is rather astatement on the nature of Jesus' incarnation as the God-human-highpriest.

Whereas the recipients of the letter are constantly trying totie Jesus down, limit his influence, and to find the limits andboundaries of God's grace, the writer encourages an expansion ofthe limits of the kingdom of God and a deeper appreciation ofJesus' actions.

To Ponder

  • Where have you been limited in your understanding of theexpansiveness of God's grace?
  • What might the redemption of creation look like?
  • What one thing can you do this week to live that intoreality?
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