Good Friday thoughts – Hebrews 10:14

            Most of us have had a mortgage.  We agree to pay for 20 or 30 years an amount each month until we own the house.  It goes on every month, every year.  Maybe it is extended because of a need to take out a loan in addition.  This is a constant repetition, like a drip from a leaky roof.

Hebrews speaks of the repetitiveness of the priestly service in the temple.  Each sacrifice did some good.  Like each mortgage payment does some good.  But each one had to be repeated.  Only the payments were not for 30 years.  We can imagine ourselves 30 years down the road from signing our first mortgage papers as being free from the burden.  Israel began its sacrifices in the days of Moses and they continued, with a 70 year interruption, down to  70 AD.   So for 12 centuries Israel made regular payments on it spiritual debt.  Over and over, day after day, year after year, decade and century after another they brought their blood sacrifices to the temple.

God gave this as a gift to his people – it held the promise of forgiveness and peace with God.  But it was unending.

Then came Jesus.  His sacrifice was complete.  It is as if he paid the whole mortgage in one payment.    His one payment had paid once for all time the whole debt of the sins of his people.

“For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”  Hebrews 10:14

It is busy in the Closet!

“The whole Trinity is present in the Christian’s [prayer] closet. The father hears.  The Son advocates his case at the Father’s right hand; The Holy Spirit intercedes in the heart of the believer.”   A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology, II p. 775

Matthew 5:6 “But when you pray, go into your room [closet], close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen. Then your father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Romans 8:26  “In the same way the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

Romans 8:34 “…Christ Jesus, who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”

Hebrews 7: 25 “Therefor he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them”

It would seem the Holy Spirit is present to help us to pray.  Christ is before the Father as our advocate, praying for us in his role of High Priest.

Who needs a priest?

Why would we need a priest (we will call that person a spiritual expert) to make a connection with God?

We need experts in our daily lives.

  • If your car does not work, do you try to fix it yourself?  Maybe if you are out of gas, or you need to put air in your tires.  But will you replace your brakes or fix your transmission?  No, you go to a mechanic who knows what to do.
  • If you need surgery, will you do that for yourself?  Let’s say that you know that you have to replace your knee joint.  Can you replace it yourself?  No.
  • Can you teach yourself another language?  Maybe you will learn by listening and learning all by yourself.  Most of us need a teacher.  I am learning Spanish.  My teacher’s name is Anna Maria.  He moved to the United states from Peru.  She knows Spanish because that is her 1st language.  She knows English because she learned it here, and is not a citizen.  Because she lives in both worlds, she can teach me Spanish.

If you then need a mechanic for your car, a doctor for your body and a teacher for your education – you also need a priest if you want to know God. What is more difficult to know and understand, an engine, a knee, a language or the Almighty?

Brevity is next to Godliness

I found this today – it is “old” in on sense, from 1839, but it was pretty fresh to me:

“Why, then, is Jesus, the Son of God, called The Anointed?

Because to his manhood were imparted without measure all the gifts of the Holy Ghost; and so he possesses in the highest degree the knowledge of a prophet; the holiness of a high priest; and the power of a king.”

Longer Catechism, Orthodox Catholic Eastern Church, 1839, quoted in Basic Christian Doctrines, Ed. Carl F. H. Henry; Holt, Rinehart and Winston; NY, 1962

Keep it Simple

Billy Graham used to say that you have to work hard to make it simple.  This is the challenge to a pastor who wants to be aware of scholarhsip, do serious study, and at the same time, communicate to regular people meaning and connections to life.  Our success rate in this vaires from week to week. The dangers are

  • Lost in Abstraction
  • Too many Obscurities
  • Disconnect of book and life
  • Riding an irrelevant hobby horse
  • Using jargon instead of English
  • or, on the other hand, joining the Know-Nothing party
Here is my work at explaining Prophet, Priest and King theology

“People need the Lord” says a worship song,  but they may come to him by differing paths.  For example:

  • Because they are Lost
  • Because they are Guilty
  • Because they are Overpowered.

Jesus provides all that is needed in each case.

  • The Lost find the Light because Jesus is a Prophet.
  • The Guilty find forgiveness because Jesus is a Priest
  • The Overpowered find power because Jesus is the King.