Season of Advent 2018 Year C – Fourth Sunday: The Epistle Passage – Keeping faith in the most authentic way

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.” (Hebrews 10:5 – 6)

During the second week of Advent the scriptures for that week seemed (at least to me) to point to a group salvation and redemption. According to some of the prophets redemption would be because of Israel/Judah as a nation following Yahweh closely. Additionally redemption would come because of proper worship and sacrifice. When Jesus came he broke that mold and expectation – amongst others. In a sense though, Jesus did fill that very expectation – just not the way it was expected. Jesus called not a nation as a whole, but each individual person who would – with their fellow believers – form a new nation. And proper worship was not burnt offerings and sin offerings but a contrite and confessional spirit that desired to follow the Divine. And Jesus was the exemplar of this.

“Then I said, ‘See, God, I have come to do your will, O God’ (in the scroll of the book it is written of me).” 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, “See, I have come to do your will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second.” (Verses 7 – 9)

Remember, beloved reader, that in Hebrews Paul was setting establishing the case for Jesus being the High Priest that endures for eternity and puts to rest the need for any other high priest. This is even more true if sacrifices and offerings placed on a physical altar are no longer necessary, or even desired. The only sacrifice now needed is for our to sacrifice our human will and follow God’s will. Which, when you think about it was probably the intent all along.

“And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Verse 10)

We take a great deal on faith that Paul knew what he was talking about. I am not saying he was wrong. I may take issue with some of the ideas Paul had for proper worship in fellowship settings (think the place of women in worship services) but when it comes to knowing the heart of the Divine, Paul is on the right course. May we be as steadfast and devoted in our faith. Selah!


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