Jesus God’s final priest (Hebrews 7) mediates God’s better and final covenant. No further covenant will ever be needed between God and humanity, because by this covenant sealed in the blood of Christ, God’s holy law is no longer a weighty standard in front of you, but a living life within you .. and because through this covenant, God’s forgiveness of every one of your sins is not merely provisional, it is not on credit .. it is paid .. your debt to your God is paid in full.
It is natural to humans to seek perfection or completion. To do so is in fact to seek the God who made us for himself. Humans typically turn to one religious system or another in this quest. But in truth no religious system can deliver the perfection we crave. That certainly includes the Levitical priesthood and the religious system it provided. God has provided in Jesus the only way to be fully what humanity was intended to be.
When you’ve come to Jesus your search for a mediator is over. Jesus has been interceding to the Father on your behalf since time began. He is still pleading your cause, for his intercession and mediation have no end. Accept his perfect mediation and God’s mercy for you will never run dry.
On 3rd February 1788, eight days after the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove, the Reverend Richard Johnson, fleet chaplain, conducted the first service of Christian worship in the infant Colony of New South Wales. His text was Psalm 116:12-13. In honour of that significant anniversary, and also on the occasion of our Covenant Sunday for 2017, this psalm is most fitting for us. (It also serves as the final of our ‘Summer Psalms’ in this January holiday period). How will we give back to the Lord in 2017? By expressing our overwhelming gratitude for his goodness shown us, and by dedicating ourselves to his mission.
Psalm 27 is a fine one to return to regularly to recalibrate your spiritual life. The writer (very likely King David himself) uses two central metaphors to express his spiritual thirst: he seeks to dwell in God’s house, and he seeks God’s face. Being in the temple of God at Jerusalem is what the psalmist longs for; for under the Old Covenant that was the place to go, to be as much in the presence of the living God as it was possible for a sinner to be. But the core plea of this psalm would only be fully realised when God took on human flesh, creating the true temple – the living presence of God on earth.
Ordinary Sunday 2, Year A
What would you say to a church that’s so steeped in division, disorder and sin that it’s barely recognisable as Christ’s body? The Apostle Paul might have said: “Tell them who they are in Christ. Tell them they’re the church of God.” However discouraged or disillusioned you may feel about any church or the church in general, don’t give up on the church. For God hasn’t.
We all want to know why God makes us wait so often. Whilst God doesn’t have to answer to us, the Bible gives some clues. In this extended account of the sickness, death and raising of Lazarus, we grasp that Jesus has some greater purposes in mind than our immediate relief or satisfaction. His priorities are the glory of God, the engendering of belief, and the dispensing of eternal life, God’s life. His raising of Lazarus is a demonstration of his capacity to achieve those ends, which are to our eternal benefit.
Naming & Circumcision of Jesus
A creation psalm like Psalm 8 sets us humans where we rightly belong in the universe, namely in the worship of God as his most honoured creatures. This psalm sets out first the glory of God, and second the great dignity of humanity, quietly pointing to the perfected humanity made flesh in Jesus. Our place in the universe is as leaders in the undoubting praise God deserves.
“As on the day of Midian”, says the prophet, so on the day of Christ. Isaiah uses the memory of a great battle when God saved the nation of Israel through a small force with no weapons to announce a time when he will save the whole world, starting with the birth of one child. God’s Son has been given to us, to start a new government of peace over our hearts and thence the world.
Advent 4, Year A
The Lord’s promise to Ahaz King of Judah in 735BC, that despite appearances he the Lord with be with him against an external military threat, becomes our promise that God will be with us (Immanuel) to save us from a far deeper threat – our sin, and save us forever.
If you do not stand firm in faith, you shall not stand at all. Isaiah 7:9b