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Monday, April 11, 2022
Today’s Scripture Reading | Hebrews 9:11–15
But when Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation), he entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, with the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer, sanctifies those who have been defiled so that their flesh is purified, 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!
For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, because a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant. (NRSV)
The book of Hebrews is designed to explain to new converts to Christianity the mystery of the coming of Christ. Most, if not all, of the readers were Jews, familiar with the worship practices described in this passage. These same readers would have been aware as well of the promise God made to God’s people through the prophet Jeremiah, that the day was coming when God would make a new covenant with them and from that day forward would forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more (Jeremiah 31:34).
Under the old covenant, the high priest, on the Day of Atonement, would enter the Holy of Holies in the temple, carrying the sacrificial blood of animals to atone for the sins of the people. The coming of Jesus into the world is the new covenant. With Jesus’ death on the cross, he made the atonement for the sins of the people. No longer would the high priest have to bring sacrificial blood into the temple to absolve the people of their sins. Rather, they were saved by the blood of Christ.
Jesus refers to this new covenant at the Last Supper, when he pours out the cup and says that it is the new covenant in his blood (Luke 22:20). Our journey through Lent has celebrated the story of Jesus coming into the world to make a direct path to God for us. This is the great promise of Easter.
Dear God, thank you for sending your Son as the new covenant. As we move toward the promise of Easter, keep us mindful of your love for us. Amen.
Written by Juli Crabtree, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church
Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church
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