Builder Of All Things

What we know about God we learned through His name. If you’ve been around me for any length of time, you’ve probably heard me go off on the names of God and how His nature and character are revealed to us through them.

In Hebrews 3 we come across another one of these name-lessons, one I’ve never heard mentioned before.

…but the builder of all things is God. – Hebrews 3:4

Can I turn it around and say, Jehovah–Builder Of All Things? Maybe not exactly, but you get my drift.

The prior verse shows us that Moses is a house that Jesus built –

For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. – Hebrews 3:3

This feeds into one of my other passions–Jesus’ construction projects–you and me.

Jesus, raised and trained by a carpenter (how fitting) goes to the cross to prepare a place for us. That place is a home we will share with the builder Himself, the Great Carpenter, the Builder of all Things! (John 14:2,23)

This dwelling place He builds for us, is masterfully made to be part of something much larger, much grander. It’s a temple whose glory outshines even Solomon’s great masterpiece.

We forget this on a day to day basis. We let our eye slip from the realization that we are the habitation of the Most High God. The source of all life lives in us. The Hope of the Nations sits in your living room and comforts you. The Great Provider provisions your pantry. The One who said come to Me and I will give you rest sleeps in the bed beside you. The One willing to help you with that plank in your eye looks over your shoulder in your mirror. The One who enabled some fishermen to retire and go into full-time ministry through one afternoon fishing trip goes with you to cash your paycheck.

Builder of all things – such as…

Your gifts and talents.
Your calling.
Your future.

Builder of all things – hmmm.

This requires some pondering.

BenHeadshotThanks for coming by.

Walk with Jesus today,

Ben

Have you missed any of my musings on Hebrews? You can catch up here.

Things To Be Spoken Later

Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; – Hebrews 3:5

There’s something really cool going on here.

Moses lived his life some fourteen hundred years before Christ.

He spoke with God face to face as a man speaks to his friend.

He received the Word of God written by the finger of God on tablets of stone.

He saw first hand some of the greatest miracles ever recorded, parting of the Red Sea, water from a rock, daily provision of mana, pillar of fire and cloud.

But all this–his whole life–his full testimony pointed toward another Word, a Word not yet spoken, a Word who would come in the flesh. Moses’ life painted a picture of deliverance. The architect of the exodus from Egypt created for us through Moses a scale model of the temple He planned to build for Himself in the fullness of time.

That later Word: Jesus!

That later temple: Jesus!

Yes, they would tear it down and crow in victory, but three days would pass and that temple would rise out of the rubble.

Jesus, the mustard seed, planted in expectation of harvest by the sower, would burst forth from the ground, growing into the greatest tree in the garden. The grain of wheat, planted, buried, so life could come, a full harvest of life to follow.

Moses would receive the Word directly from the Father and bring it to the people. They said, “you tell us what He says, and we’ll obey every word.” So God sent His Word through Moses, and the people rejected it.

God sent His Word again. He sent this later Word to His own people, the ones who cherished Torah, the ones who knew His every jot and tittle.

They took one look at His later Word and plotted how to kill Him.

But today, you get to choose. You can receive God’s later (final) Word. You can allow the imperishable seed of God’s final Word to take root in the soil of your soul.

God wants to speak into your life.

Really all we need to do is tune in, get quiet, and listen.

BenThanks for coming by,

Blessings,

Ben

A Good Good Father

I want to step back into the first chapter of Hebrews once again and take a look at the Father’s heart. This quote brings the heart of the Father into sharp relief.

“I WILL BE A FATHER TO HIM AND HE SHALL BE A SON TO ME”? – Hebrews 1:5

Today, we will take a trek through God’s Word and observe this heart. We’ll discover something about what makes God tick. I want to know more than God’s deeds. I want to know His ways. I want to be His friend, the one He can confide in. So when I get a glimpse of His heart, I’m hungry to dig in. Got your shovel?

As we saw a few weeks back, the original quote here is from 2 Samuel 7 when David the shepherd-king first considered building a house for God. But there is a permutation of this sentiment that shows up throughout the Bible that I want to just bring into the light.

The rest of this post is composed of scriptures that say this same thing. It’s striking to me how much of it comes from some of the strongest and hardest books in the Bible. God’s heart of love for His followers shines through even when He’s executing judgment or foretelling doom to the reprobate.

I believe the Word has the power to train our minds and transform us from the inside out. Let this flow of scripture touch and change you today.

“I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. “I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” – Genesis 17:7-8

“I will dwell among the sons of Israel and will be their God. “They shall know that I am the LORD their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, that I might dwell among them; I am the LORD their God. – Exodus 29:45-46

‘But I will remember for them the covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God. I am the LORD.'” – Leviticus 26:45

“I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, – 2 Samuel 7:14

‘I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart. – Jeremiah 24:7

“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. – Jeremiah 31:33 NASB

“They shall be My people, and I will be their God; – Jeremiah 32:38

“And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God. – Ezekiel 11:19-20

in order that the house of Israel may no longer stray from Me and no longer defile themselves with all their transgressions. Thus they will be My people, and I shall be their God,”‘ declares the Lord GOD.” – Ezekiel 14:11

“And it will never again be the confidence of the house of Israel, bringing to mind the iniquity of their having turned to Egypt. Then they will know that I am the Lord GOD.”‘” – Ezekiel 29:16

‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep. So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I will deliver My flock from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them.”‘” … “And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I the LORD have spoken. – Ezekiel 34:10, 24

“They will no longer defile themselves with their idols, or with their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. And they will be My people, and I will be their God. … “My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. – Ezekiel 37:23, 27

and I will bring them back and they will live in the midst of Jerusalem; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God in truth and righteousness.’ – Zechariah 8:8

“I will strengthen the house of Judah, And I will save the house of Joseph, And I will bring them back, Because I have had compassion on them; And they will be as though I had not rejected them, For I am the LORD their God and I will answer them. – Zechariah 10:6

“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. “He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.” – Malachi 4:5-6

 

Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. – 2 Corinthians 6:16

For to which of the angels did He ever say, “YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU”? And again, “I WILL BE A FATHER TO HIM AND HE SHALL BE A SON TO ME”? – Hebrews 1:5

“FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS, AND I WILL WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS. AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. – Hebrews 8:10

I pray you’ll meditate on this aspect of God’s love for His children. He is a good good Father!

cropped-BenHeadshotThanks for coming by today.

Blessings,

Ben

If you’ve missed any of our wanderings through Hebrews, you can catch up here.

This is the House That Jesus Built

He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house. For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. … but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house–whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end. – Hebrews 3:2-3, 6

God’s house–it’s not a box in a tent anymore.

Sorry, Indiana Jones. If the nazi’s ever found the ark of the covenant and opened it, they would not find some face melting, flesh-eating, God of Israel trapped inside, waiting to escape. They would just find a cobwebbed old house with dusty sheets covering all the old furniture. The inscribed stones of the law may still be hanging on the living room wall, though a bit askew from the fall off the ox cart. Aaron’s rod standing in a clay pot in the parlor, still in bloom. A couple golden tumors hiding under an overstuffed chair. And the table still set for a mana dinner. But no terrifying presence.

God moved out two thousand years ago.

He relocated to a new dwelling place.

He moved in before construction on His new place was completed. The plain truth is, it’s still under construction. As any man or woman declares with their mouth, “Jesus is my Lord,” and set their trust on Him, He’s adding on. Each addition a pristine new room, perfectly suitable for the Holy Spirit’s presence.

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. – Ephesians 2:19-22

The gospel, it turns out, is not about you going to heaven when you die. That’s just a side benefit. Jesus never said He was the way to heaven. He said,

no one comes to the Father but through Me.John 14:6

Our destination is the Father, and we don’t have to die to reach Him. [tweet this] The Father adds new rooms every day, not as folks die, but as they trust and confess Him as Lord.

Later in the same chapter, He continues,

If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. – John 14:23

You and I, my friend, comprise the house of God, a house of His own building. And somewhere, down that long hall in the eastern wing, at the far end of the prophet’s corridor is Moses’s home. And God’s in there with Him right now!

But don’t worry. He’s in your room, too. He’s there to meet with you right now. Take some time to hang out with Him today, will you?

cropped-BenHeadshotThanks for coming by!

See you again soon,

Ben

Need to catch up with our gleaning through Hebrews? Here’s a page with all the links.

House and Builder, Servant and Son

He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house. For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house–whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end. – Hebrews 3:2-6

As we move forward in Chapter 3 of our wander through Hebrews, we come to the comparison of Jesus and Moses.

Moses holds a special place in the heart of God, and in the eyes of men.

We learn that he was the meekest man who ever lived. (We’ll talk about this in our study of the Beatitudes in the next week or so.)

(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.) – Numbers 12:3 KJV

David speaks of Moses in his beautiful song about the mercies of the Lord,

He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. – Psalm 103:7

Moses even shows up to encourage, or be encouraged by, Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration.

And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. – Matthew 17:3

We find the greatest testament to Moses in this statement from Exodus:

Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent. – Exodus 33:11

He wrote more of our Bible than anyone, even Paul.

Meek as he was, he stood before Pharoh and made demands, he stood before millions and led the nation, he stood for God in defense of the people and required God to accompany His people through the wilderness.

He acted as prophet, priest, and king, to a rebellious nation. He was a shepherd and judge, teacher and lawgiver. He was a striking type of Christ in many ways.

God used Moses hands to do arguably the greatest miracle since the creation of the heavens and the earth, the opening of the Red Sea.

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. – Exodus 14:21-22 

I’m afraid we’ve turned this into a Sunday school story, or fairy tale, and forget that this REALY happened. No CGI. No special effects. Real water stacked on the left and right like walking down a New York City block with skyscrapers on each side.

What a guy! What a relationship with God!

…Faithful in all his house…

More later…

BenHeadshotThanks for stopping by.

Have a great day.

Ben

Faithful

He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house. – Hebrews 3:2

If we go back to the scene in Isaiah 6 as discussed a few days back, you’ll remember I said I can hear Jesus saying “Here am I send Me,” to the Father’s call.

And what’s the result of all this calling, sending and going?

Jesus was faithful to the Father.

He was faithful to the Father every day.

We see it when He was twelve.

And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” – Luke 2:49

We see it every day of His ministry.

Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. – John 5:19

We see it in the Garden of Gethsemane more clearly than anywhere else.

And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” – Matthew 26:39

This is the one that really blows me away. Jesus knows what He’s facing. He knows He will hang on that tree. He knows He will be disfigured and beaten to within an inch of His life. He knows that as a Passover lamb is being slaughtered for every household only one day hence, He would be slaughtered, fulfilling the type. And it would happen at the hands of His own people.

And yet, I don’t believe any of that caused His agony in that garden that lonely night.

I believe it came down to His agonized cry on the cross.

MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” – Matthew 27:46

This is the cup Jesus didn’t want to bear. The rest would be over, the rest is stuff many of His followers would gladly face in years and centuries to come.

But God asked Jesus to drink the fullness of God’s wrath from His own hand.

But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; – Isaiah 53:10

Oh My!

Jesus is our FAITHFUL High Priest.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Can you thank Him with me today?

All glory to You, Jesus!

BenHeadshotThanks for stopping in today,

See you again soon,

Ben

Get Out of the China Cabinet!

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession; – Hebrews 3:1

Here, at the beginning of chapter 3 of Hebrews, we see the writer reminding us who we are in Christ. Though this letter is full of warnings, though it takes us by the shoulders and shakes us from time to time, in the end, the writer wants us to know who we are.

Holy–a word usually reserved for God, but the Holy Spirit wants you to know that through Christ’s work on the cross and His work in your spirit, you are holy. You are set apart.

One thing about the word holy that we miss sometimes. We tend to contrast holy with wretched, or miserable, but in truth, the opposite of holy is common–ordinary–every day.

My wife has some dishes in a china cabinet that belonged to her grandmother. On any random Tuesday in May, we’re eating off Correll. But there is a Thursday that comes up in November and we eat off Grandma’s good china. After dinner, it’s hand washed and carefully placed back in the china cabinet for the next special occasion.

The china is holy, set apart for a specific calling.

And that’s what’s going on here.

We are God’s good china, and He has a calling for each of us.

But in God’s economy, He puts out the good china every day, for everyone to see.

God created us each with specific gifts and talents that fit our calling in the body of Christ. Paul uses this image of a body, and how each part fulfills a specific function.

One big problem in the Church world is this eighty-twenty thing that everyone seems to notice.

They say (and clearly they know) that in the average church, eighty percent of the work is done by 20 percent of the people.

Before we all go off angry at the eighty percent of folks who aren’t pulling their weight, let’s realize in God’s actual calling, not all are set apart for a job in the church as usher or greeter. Some are called into ministry in the world, outside the church walls. Frankly, most have callings outside the church, with the exception of the full-time staff, and I’m not even sure it’s OK to give them a pass on extra-church ministry.

But what can be observed is that eighty percent (more or less) of churchgoers are simply attendees, and don’t participate in ministry of any kind, at any time, anywhere.

Assuming they know Christ at all, they are effectively good china that NEVER comes out of the china cabinet. They are just for show. They miss their heavenly calling and go through life unfulfilled and missing God’s best for them.

If you find yourself in the china cabinet, I hope your asking, “how do I get out there on the table?”

I can’t tell you what you are called to do. But this I can tell you for sure. It’s God’s will for you to know. And it’s God will for you to be a dirty dish at the end of each day, ready for God to hand wash you and get you ready for use tomorrow.

If you start serving, maybe in church, maybe in a para-church kind of gig, if you’ll get moving, God will steer you into your destiny.

Shake off the fear of getting involved. Stir yourself and ask God where to start. It’s His will to use you, and He promised if we asked for wisdom He’d give it without reprisal.

cropped-BenHeadshotHey, thanks for stopping by.

Get out of the china cabinet.

Ben

Apostle

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession; – Hebrews 3:1

Apostle. Not an office we associate with Jesus too often. But here in Hebrews, we see the writer calls Jesus the Apostle and High Priest of our confession. For the record, it’s the only reference to Jesus as an apostle unless you take his own words in John 13

Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. – John 13:16

What is an Apostle? (I’m actually going to pass on this one for today. Perhaps another day we’ll come back and probe this office a bit, but for today, just the word, and a surprise appearance from that old favorite, Isaiah)

In it’s most basic form, it means sent one or messenger.

I can’t help but when I think about Jesus’ sending, I go to Isaiah 6. This is one of those iconic passages. It’s in my top 10 for sure. I fell in love with it when I heard Leonard Ravenhill preach his wonderful sermon, “Woe, Lo, Go.” This famous sermon (which you can hear for yourself here) presses the point, that anyone confronted with the holiness of God and cleansed at His altar cannot help but take up his commission among God’s sent ones.

I do have a theory about this chapter, that I have shared here before, but I want to pose it again here.

You’re likely familiar with the scene (if not you can catch up quickly here, it’s only 7 verses.) Isaiah sees the throne room of the Father and falls down before him, seeing in the Lord’s stark holiness a contrast to his own wickedness. Side thought: The first five chapters of Isaiah’s ministry stand as Spirit breathed scripture. And yet, Isaiah experiences an encounter with God in all His holiness and it wrecks him.

God quickly cleanses and forgive Isaiah’s iniquities, and then Isaiah begins to hear what’s going on.

And here’s where I like to wiggle the common turn on this passage.

Isaiah hears the question on the table

Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”  – Isaiah 6:8

Isaiah, in his new found passion immediately answers,

“Here am I. Send me!” – Isaiah 6:8 NASB

Oh the sermons that have been preached on these five words.

God honors his heart and gives Isaiah a new commissioning.

But what was really going on?

Could it be that Isaiah was getting a glimpse of the commissioning of Jesus before the foundation of the world?

Could it be that Isaiah overheard the Father asking Jesus to go and give His life for the sins of all mankind?

I know we hear Isaiah say “Here am I. Send me.” But in my spirit, I hear Jesus saying, “Here am I. Send me.”

Jesus is the Sent One. He is our Apostle.

We’ll dig a little deeper on this idea of Jesus as our Apostle next week when we come back to Hebrews.

cropped-BenHeadshotThanks for stopping in.

God’s crazy about you!

Ben

Propitiation

Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. – Hebrews 2:17

There’s a word you don’t hear every day.

[Disclaimer – we’re going to get a little geeky today, but the prize in this cereal box (to be read “end of the post”) will be worth it.]

According to Merriam Webster’s online dictionary some synonyms for propitiate are appease, assuage, conciliate, disarm, gentle, mollify, pacify, placate.

But let’s step back to the Greek and see the word used in the original letter.

The Greek word “hilaskomai” only shows up twice in the New Testament, here, and in Romans 3:25. For a sense of how it’s used there, let’s look at a couple verses. Honestly, Romans is one of those books where reading any less than chapters at a time, it’s easy to lose the author’s intent, but for our purposes today, these three verses will deepen our understanding of this word.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; – Romans 3:23-25

So this bit starts in VERY familiar territory, standing on the yellow lines in the middle of the Roman road. But we quickly move from the familiar into ‘I never saw that before.’ Check it out.

We missed God’s glory through our sin. That’s where we normally stop. Missing glory and stuck in sin, but that’s not where the text stops. It motors right into the solution.

We were justified by His grace when He bought us back using Christ Jesus as payment. God publicly displayed Jesus as the solution to this sin problem. By the shedding of Jesus’ blood, God was able to take our sin out of the way and put us back into a position where He could lavish His love upon us.

WOW – that’s good, but let’s not stop following this path quite yet.

This Greek word, “hilaskomai” though only used twice in the New Testament was used in the Septuagint (LXX.) If you remember back a few episodes, that’s the Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures often quoted in the New Testament by its authors, especially our guy.

This is really cool. In the LXX today’s word shows up in a surprising spot.

“You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold, two and a half cubits long and one and a half cubits wide. – Exodus 25:17

Our word, propitiation, used here, in noun form, is translated “Mercy seat.”

Mercy seat!

Did you get that?

The mercy seat sat above the ark of the covenant. This ark represented the dwelling place of the Lord of Hosts from the birth of the nation until Christ’s death on the cross. The mercy seat annually received the sprinkling of the blood offered for all of God’s children. This blood, pointing forward toward Jesus’ blood shed on Calvary, pointing backward to the blood of the lamb slain before the foundations of the earth, would wipe clean the handwriting of ordinances against any and all who would come to the Father through faith in Jesus.

Stick with me one more minute, because we need to tie a bow around this baby.

The one main thing that distinguishes the High Priest from all the others in the priesthood is their interaction with the mercy seat.

All the priests would serve in the temple and in the holy place, but only the high priest for the year would step into the holy of holies, where the ark and the mercy seat were. Only the high priest could step beyond the veil and into the presence of God.

Once a year they would tie a rope on him and put bells on his linens, and in he went with fear and trembling, to offer the blood sacrifice for the sins of all of Israel.

The position of high priest held great honor and great fear.

Jesus, through His likeness with us, becomes our great high priest, and through of His likeness with God, He can enter the holy of holies without fear. Once there, He stands worthy to offer His own blood, sprinkled on the heavenly mercy seat–the true place of propitiation–once and for all solving our sin problem. The blood of this spotless lamb offered to the most holy Lord of Host washes away God’s sin-consciousness. [Tweet this]

Wait–What?

Yes!

God said He remembers our sins no more. He is no longer sin-conscious. Paul goes as far as to say “… not counting their trespasses against them …”. – 2 Corinthians 5:19

Man, this is shoutin’ territory!

Hallelujah!

WOW.

Thank you, Jesus!

BenHeadshotAnd thank you for stopping by.

I’ll see you again soon,

Ben

Merciful and Faithful High Preist

Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. – Hebrews 2:17

Wally Fry, a blogging compadre, has nearly daily posts called “Just a Thought,” brief, pithy, pot stirrers. At least that’s the way it works for me.

Somehow, for the last few months, I’ve had my WordPress email notices have been switched off. I suspect it was when I had to recreate my site from scratch back in January. In any case, I got them turned back on yesterday, and I was happy to see the notice come through this afternoon – “Just a Thought.

Here’s his thought for today. (Please follow the link if you haven’t already been there, and encourage Wally personally.)

Notice that Jesus, while compassionate, did not hesitate to bring sin to light.

John 4:16-18

Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

https://truthinpalmyra.wordpress.com/2019/05/08/just-a-thought-1250/

I did, as I am wont to do, leave him a comment about three times the length of his thought because this compassionate confrontation of sin struck me. This is exactly why Jesus needed to be like us in all things. So that He could become a MERCIFUL and FAITHFUL High Preist.

John tells us:

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14

And David speaks of this union in Ps 85:

Lovingkindness and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other. – Psalm 85:10

The Pharisees and the priesthood of Jesus’ day used their priestly positions to wield power and lord it over the masses. They were heavy on truth, or what they accepted as truth,  and light on compassion.

It would be easy to let the pendulum swing the other way too. It would be easy for people to agree to a system where compassion was king, and standards had no seat at the table.

In the Beatitudes, Jesus’ stairway to heaven, He juxtaposes these two sides of the coin:

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

”Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. – Matthew 5:6-7

A hunger and thirst after righteousness must be tempered by mercy, and mercy can only be offered in the light of righteousness.

Check out Jesus’ words to the Pharisees in Matthew 23:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. – Matthew 23:23

Jesus actually corrects the Pharisees in their bad theology.

They held the tithe as more important than justice, mercy, and faith, which He acknowledges as law, in fact, weightier than the tithe. For that matter, justice, mercy, and faithfulness are written into every bit of the law.

If we see the law as how God wants us to behave, we end up with a HUGE to-do list and an even bigger not-to-do list. If we look at the law as a picture of who God is, and what’s important to Him, we’ll find that His heart is for the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the oppressed.

And doesn’t it show when Jesus walks the earth? He’s not rubbing shoulders with the big wigs and hobnobbing with the in-crowd. He’s in the streets, in the pubs, in the bad neighborhoods, with THEM.

Jesus comes, and as Wally pointed out, doesn’t cut sin any slack, but He preaches His message of repentance from a platform of compassion. [Tweet this]

He drew the woman at the well out by exposing her sin and the failure it created.

He gave the woman caught in “the very act” a clarion call to “go and sin no more,” but only after affirming that He did not condemn her.

Aren’t you glad we have a Merciful and Faithful High Preist?

I know I am.

Glory to God.

cropped-BenHeadshotThanks for stopping in.

Walk in the light.

Ben

If you want to catch up with our study in Hebrews, it’s all here.