A writing of Hezekiah king of Judah after he had been sick and had recovered from his sickness:
I said, in the middle of my days I must depart. I am consigned to the gates of Sheol for the rest of my years. I said, I shall not see the Lord, the Lord is in the land of the living; I shall look on man no more among the inhabitants of the world. My dwelling is plucked up and removed from me like a shepherd’s tent; like a weaver I have rolled up my life; he cuts me off from the loom; from day to night you bring me to an end; I calmed myself until morning; like a lion he breaks all my bones; from day to night you bring me to an end.
Like a swallow or a crane I chirp; I moan like a dove. My eyes are weary with looking upward. O Lord, I am oppressed; be my pledge of safety! What shall I say? For he has spoken to me, and he himself has done it. I walk slowly all my years because of the bitterness of my soul.
O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these is the life to my spirit. Oh, restore me to health and make me live!
Behold, it was for my welfare that I had great bitterness; but in love you have delivered my life from the pit of destruction, for you have cast all my sins behind your back. For Sheol does not thank you; death does not praise you; those who go down to the pit do not hope for your faithfulness.
The living, the living, he thanks you, as I do this day; the father makes known to the children your faithfulness. The Lord will save me, and we will play my music on stringed instruments all th days of our lives at the house of the Lord.
Went to a Maundy Thursday service tonight (had the pleasure of singing during the service, too, with the rest of the band). It was definitely a good experience. I’ve never been to one, and I had no idea what it represented or what to expect. It’s sometimes called Holy Thursday, and it celebrates the Last Supper Jesus had with his disciples.
So at service, we had four songs all focusing on the cross (I’m assuming because during the Passover, Jesus’ focus was toward the cross, perhaps?), and we shared the elements together (i.e., Communion). It was very contemplative and pensive—serious, but not overly solemn.
The man who spoke is from Wales where he served—and still serves—as an Anglican priest. He shared some of the traditions he held at his church back in Wales, and he compared it to some of the traditions we have at the church here, what he has called his home church for a while now. His sermon, though, focused on how odd it is that the Table (as in, Communion) is such a item of disunity for Christians when Jesus meant it to be an item of complete unity. With it, he meant to abolish the old food laws that separated people groups.
There was more to it, but more on that later. Here’s today’s passage:
Death in Adam, Life in Christ: Romans 5:12-21 (ESV)
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
Therefore, as one trespass [or, the trespass of one] led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness [or, the act of righteousness of one] leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Full Assurance of Faith: Hebrews 10:19-39 (ESV)
Therefore, brothers [and sisters], since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul no pleasure in him.”
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.
Yes, day 41, because I didn’t exclude Sundays in my Lent Daily Bible Reading as I should have according to Lenten tradition. More Bible reading never killed anyone though, right? So I picked some passages from Hebrews that parallel the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus and flesh out some of the theology and fulfillment of the law. Hebrews is just a fantastic book.
Christ’s Sacrifice Once for All: Hebrews 10:1-18 (ESV)
For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offering you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”
When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool at his feet. For by a single offering, [Jesus] has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,
“This is the covenant that I will make them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,”
then he adds,
“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer offering for sin.
Jesus’ Side is Pierced, and Jesus is Buried: John 19:31-42 (ESV)
Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when the came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”
After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.