This blog provides a meditation on the Episcopal daily readings along with a headline from world news
Indian Governmen fearful of spiritual opposition against corruption.
HEBREWS 4:14 -5:6
14 Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
5Every high priest chosen from among mortals is put in charge of things pertaining to God on their behalf, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2He is able to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is subject to weakness; 3and because of this he must offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. 4And one does not presume to take this honour, but takes it only when called by God, just as Aaron was.
5 So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him,
‘You are my Son,
today I have begotten you’;
6as he says also in another place,
‘You are a priest for ever,
according to the order of Melchizedek.
This is a daring bit of theology which tales the Israelite priesthood as a shadowy model of the ministry of Jesus. In character as displayed in the Gospel stories, Jesus does not seem very priestly, rather the reverse, but this author’s insight is into the meaning of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
In his humanity he understands human weakness and experiences suffering. As the son of God he finds a new way for himself and his followers, through his self offering on the cross, into the holy place of God’s presence. He is like Moses in that he liberates his people; like Elijah in that he ascends to heaven; but he is unique as son of God whose sacrifice makes all ritual sacrifice redundant.
I wrote yesterday of the “intelligence of the victim”. It is this pioneer intelligence of Jesus which lets him discover a new and living way to God.
28 Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. 29And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. 30Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. 31They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah’—not knowing what he said. 34While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. 35Then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!’ 36When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen
Luke is the apostle of the long road, who tells the two-part Christian story in the Gospel and The Acts. He narrates the down-to-earth story of salvation. Yet he clearly points out that the ministry of Jesus and of the church is animated by Jesus’ relationship with God. The story here is related to other occasions when Luke tells the reader that Jesus was praying, often in just a single verse. It also relates to the story of the garden of Gethsemane, which involves the same witnesses. The horizontal road of ministry is resourced by the vertical relationship of prayer, although it must be emphasised that this is always the prayer of God’s son Jesus, who is ready, even in grief, for the Father’s will to be done. It is into this relationship of prayer that Jesus followers are invited to enter. The secret resource for the long trek of ministry is the love Jesus shares with God.