Details of the coming Messiah are given in Isaiah, including the family he would be from and unmistakable signs that could not be duplicated. The nature of his character and aspects of his ministry were written down, 800 years before he was born. Today we will look into the passages of Isaiah that describe the crucifixion and even consider if the resurrection was foretold. Continue reading
Only be sure that you do not eat the blood, for the blood is the life, and you shall not eat the life with the flesh. -Deut 12:23
In Deuteronomy 12 Moses reiterates some of the instructions to the Hebrews regarding where and how animals may be prepared and eaten. If they were killing the animal to be prepared as food then the blood was to be poured on the ground. If the animal was being offered on the altar then the flesh could be eaten but the blood was to spilled on the altar. Why? Because the life of an animal is in it’s blood.
Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. -Heb 9:22
As we approach the Passion week it’s appropriate to think about some of those Old Testament lessons. Everything about the sacrificial system help us understand what Jesus did on the cross and does now seated at the right hand of God. The design of the tabernacle, the office of the High Priest, the altar, the sacrifice and the blood of atonement all speak to the ministry of Jesus. Read Hebrews 9 to tie it all together.
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 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 serve the living God. -Hebrews 9:11-14
Begin by reading Exodus 32:1-6. The Hebrews demanded that Aaron make gods for them to worship and remarkably Aaron did so. Up until this point of the Exodus narrative Aaron had been as the spoken voice of God to the people of Israel. God would instruct Moses, Moses would share the commands with Aaron, and Aaron would in turn relay all that God had said to the people. They had all witnessed the plagues in Egypt, miraculously crossed the Red Sea, and trembled in fear as smoke and fire descended onto Mount Sinai. They had not yet received the written tablets but the words of the Ten Commandments had been spoken by God in Exodus 20. Before and after the commandments were listed all the congregation of Israel said together “All that you say we will do.” So why after all that would they risk provoking the anger of God by making an idol to worship? Continue reading
I’m going to post this today and then Happy Monday as usual tomorrow. This is an update from an archive post dated 5/18/2009.
Memorial Day is traditionally the first long weekend of summer, so maybe for you it’s just another excuse to break out the grill and water toys. If you have to work that day, maybe it’s an inconvenience that that the Post Office and banks will be closed. Some people will simply sleep in that day and not care why. The American dream lives on. Continue reading
Today is Memorial Day in the United States. (Since many of us have a three day weekend, look for Happy Monday on Tuesday this week.) While I’m not suggesting Memorial Day is a religious holiday, there is definitely a biblical basis for memorial. Continue reading
We’ve all seen stories where a gas station customer pays for someone else’s gas, or a good Samaritan in a grocery store pays for the next person in line. At a Tim Horton’s in Winnipeg last Friday, a chain reaction of paying it forward was set off lasting for three hours. A total of 228 drive through customers paid for the person in line behind them. What’s more Canadian than Tim Horton’s and hospitality, eh?
I mentioned the History Channel’s upcoming mini-series The Bible in a post yesterday. I had been putting it off for several days, and it was this devotional at Our Daily Bread on the endurance of God’s word that motivated me to act. There’s also a bit about a Bible museum being built by the owners of Hobby Lobby.
The Bible tells one story; the Old Testament and the New are both part of that story. The message of scripture from beginning to end is how a holy God, perfect in righteousness, deals with humanity, which is fallen, broken and unrighteous. At the center of that story is Jesus.
There is a definite relationship between the old covenant and the new. I often describe Judaism as a analogy for Christianity. The Hebrews in the Old Testament are analogous in many ways to Christians of the New Testament. There are many similarities but we must be clear: the two are not the same. The Hebrews came out of Egypt on a mission; as Christians we should be on mission. But our mission is very different from their mission. Continue reading
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. (Hebrews 1:1-4 ESV)
Jesus alluded to this truth in the parable of the tenants. Colossians 1 describes the preeminence of Christ in all things, calling him the images of the invisible God. Galatians 4 describes how God sent his son “when the fullness of time had come.” Ephesians 2 elaborates on Christ making peace by the blood of his cross. But this passage in Hebrews has a poetic quality to it. This one paragraph encompasses all of these other references in one beautiful synopsis. It’s about Old Testament prophecy and New Testament fulfillment. It tells the reader who Jesus is and what he has done. It describes the incarnation, ministry of Jesus and his current office as high priest.
I find this short passage simple, beautiful and powerful. This is just the opening statement; have you read the rest of Hebrews lately?
God speaks to Moses through the burning bush in Exodus 3. God has heard the cry of the Hebrews slaves, and remembers his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The affliction and time table described in Genesis 15 has been accomplished, and God is ready to lead his people out of Egypt and to the promised land. The only thing standing in the way of Moses leading them is out is… Moses. He goes point/counterpoint with God, listing new objections as God responds to each. Continue reading
When God speaks to Moses from the burning bush, he knows that Pharaoh will not let the Hebrews go “unless compelled by a mighty hand.” God has a series of signs and wonders in store for Egypt. There comes a point when Pharaoh would have been willing to let them go and we’re told that God hardened his heart, because he was not done demonstrating his power. It was all part of God’s plan.
I did not intend to preach a sermon featuring 9/11 on the 10th anniversary. I decided to use text from Genesis 15, when God met with Abram (not yet Abraham) and renewed his covenant to make of him a great nation. God explains that it will not happen right away; as a matter of fact it will not happen for another 400 years.
Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. Gen. 15:13-14