Isaiah 42:1-9 | New Living Translation (NLT)
“Look at my servant, whom I strengthen.
He is my chosen one, who pleases me.
I have put my Spirit upon him.
He will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout
or raise his voice in public.
He will not crush the weakest reed
or put out a flickering candle.
He will bring justice to all who have been wronged.
He will not falter or lose heart
until justice prevails throughout the earth.
Even distant lands beyond the sea will wait for his instruction.”
God, the Lord, created the heavens and stretched them out.
He created the earth and everything in it.
He gives breath to everyone,
life to everyone who walks the earth.
And it is he who says,
“I, the Lord, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness.
I will take you by the hand and guard you,
and I will give you to my people, Israel,
as a symbol of my covenant with them.
And you will be a light to guide the nations.
You will open the eyes of the blind.
You will free the captives from prison,
releasing those who sit in dark dungeons.
“I am the Lord; that is my name!
I will not give my glory to anyone else,
nor share my praise with carved idols.
Everything I prophesied has come true,
and now I will prophesy again.
I will tell you the future before it happens.”
Psalm 36:5-11 | New Living Translation (NLT)
Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the ocean depths.
You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.
How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter
in the shadow of your wings.
You feed them from the abundance of your own house,
letting them drink from your river of delights.
For you are the fountain of life,
the light by which we see.
Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you;
give justice to those with honest hearts.
Don’t let the proud trample me
or the wicked push me around.
Hebrews 9:11-15 |New Living Translation (NLT)
So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.
Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant.
John 12:1-11 | New Living Translation (NLT)
Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.
But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.
Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead. Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus.
Today we begin Holy Week. We look at the events that happened between Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and his death and burial on Friday and Saturday. I encourage you to read each of the passages. For the most part, we will be looking at the Epistles (since I am currently on that cycle), but when I see things fit I may make comments on several of the readings.
Today’s Epistle is from the Hebrews – just 5 short verses that declare Christ to be the perfect sacrifice. In fact, that is a general theme in Hebrews – how Jesus is supreme over everything. Heaven, we are told is the perfect Tabernacle. The Old Testament Tabernacle is just a dim reflection of the real thing that is in heaven. Jesus is now the High Priest in the Tabernacle of heaven. Like I mentioned during this morning’s message – when the veil was torn in two – Jesus became our High Priest and has become our mediator. The Tabernacle of heaven was not made by human hands – but by God himself. Jesus is the perfect sacrifice because he used his own blood – not the blood of animals. I love what it says, “He entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.” How amazing is that. I love the fact that Jesus transcends the space/time continuum. His sacrifice was for all – for all time, not just for the ones after the sacrifice, but for those before it as well. For those who trust in him and keep their trust in him – our redemption is forever.
Christ is the perfect sacrifice – the old system allowed for the cleansing of sins, but just think how much more the pure blood of Jesus can cleanse our sins and forgive us of all unrighteousness. And now we can worship God! Christ died to set us free from the first covenant – the one we couldn’t keep anyway and now he has become our mediator! Praise be to God!