Hold Tightly

26th Sunday After Pentecost

1 Samuel 1:4-20  • 1 Samuel 2:1-10 • Hebrews 10:11-25 • Mark 13:1-8

Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.

And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says,

“This is the new covenant I will make
    with my people on that day, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their hearts,
    and I will write them on their minds.”

Then he says,

“I will never again remember
    their sins and lawless deeds.”

And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place.And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Hebrews 10:11-25 New Living Translation (NLT)

This is the last Sunday of Ordinary Time. It’s not ordinary time in the way we think of it, but it means counted time.  We have been counting the Sundays since Pentecost. Next week is Reign of Christ Sunday. On this last Sunday of Ordinary Time we wrap up our look at Hebrews.  We have been looking at this idea that Christ’s sacrifice was one time – for all time – and for all people.  

The writer of Hebrews again reminds us that under the old covenant – the old system sacrifice for sin had to be made over and over again, because the blood that cleansed the sin was not forever.  The priests would sacrifice day after day, week after week, but Jesus ended the old system.  Since Jesus was the perfect Lamb of God – because Jesus is eternal – because Jesus is our great high priest, there is one sacrifice for all sins – for all people – for all time.  He has forgiven sin and there is no longer a need for sacrifices.  

Then the author reminds us to persevere – because of the blood of Jesus that allows us (everyone) to enter the most Holy Place.  We have direct access to God through Jesus – He is our great high priest because we have been made clean through Christ’s blood and the washing of the water.  

This means that we can go BOLDly to the throne of grace – we can hold tightly to our faith in Jesus Christ – because he can be trusted to keep his promise.  

Then the author reminds us that we should think of ways to motivate each other to acts of love (an earlier translation of the NLT used “motivate each other to “outbursts of love.”)  We often hear the phrase an outburst of anger, but just imagine how much better an outburst of love could be.  The world could use more believers motivating people with outbursts of love.  Because of our love for Christ we love each other and we love others and because of that love we do good works.  This does not negate having faith in Christ, but our faith in Christ and his work motivates us to show our faith in tangible ways.  

Not only that, but the author encourages the Hebrew believers to continue to meet together – the believers had been scattered throughout the world, and the author reminds them that in order to encourage one another – that they need to meet regularly and not meet just when they want to. 

What a great way to end this journey through ordinary time.  Next week we celebrate Reign of Christ Sunday and then it is then we move into the beginning of the church year – which starts with Advent.  This also concludes the three year cycle – even though we are on year B. I got started going in to year C.  That means for the next three years, we will be focusing in on the gospels each week.  It also means that I have been doing this daily devotional now for twelve years – pretty cool if you ask me.  

Let’s do what the author of Hebrews says – because of Christ’s love and sacrifice – let us hold on tightly to the hope we affirm – and encourage one another with acts of love and good works – and I encourage you to meet with fellow believers this weekend.  Blessings…

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