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Hebrews 13:10-16  Click on link to read passage. You may select your own version of the Bible after the link opens.

Verse 10 opens the door to a question. Why did those who ministered at the tabernacle have no right to eat at Jesus’ altar? Verses 11 and 12 explain that Jesus’ blood was shed outside the tabernacle and not in the Most Holy Place. The high priests rejected Christ, and caused the shedding of his blood outside the city.

So if we are to come to Christ’s altar we must look outside the tabernacle of the Old Testament. We must meet Christ at the foot of the cross accepting his atoning blood sacrifice for our sins. We also look forward to the promised city that is to come, not to Jerusalem.

The writer of Hebrews urges us to continually offer our praises to God though Jesus by confessing his holy name, by doing good and by sharing with others. This is the kind of sacrifice that pleases God.

This passage was initially written to the early Christians, many of whom were converts from Judaism. So the concept of going outside the camp to worship Jesus meant that they were to leave their old forms of worship before they could worship the Living Christ. It may not be all that different for us. Once we gain a Biblical understanding of who Jesus is, we need to stand out from the crowd to begin a new life in him. We may also need to leave one church and find another if we have been worshiping with a group of people who don’t know Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Father, work in our hearts so that we will seek Jesus alone to cleanse us from our sins. Thank you for your unthinkable gift of your Son, that we might have a share in your inheritance.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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Luke 24:44-49   (Click to read NIV or select your preferred translation of the Bible. Please read the scripture first.)

Jesus appeared to the Disciples after his resurrection and ate with them demonstrating that his body was a physical body.

Jesus shared with them from the scriptures (our Old Testament) showing them that everything that had happened had been predicted long ago and it was necessary that it be fulfilled. Then the Disciples finally understood that Jesus’ death and resurrection took place so that repentance and forgiveness of sins could come and be preached to all people beginning with Jerusalem.

Then Jesus instructed the Disciples to stay in Jerusalem until they were to receive the Holy Spirit as God had promised. Jesus words in this passage described the Holy Spirit as if it would come over them like a garment, and that it would give them power from God.

The Disciples experienced so much in three short days. Jesus’ mockery of a trial which they were too frightened to attend, his crucifixion, death, and burial. Then as they were staying in hiding behind locked doors, Jesus appeared to them. After all this, they are told to wait for the Holy Spirit. (See John 20:19-23)

It is so hard to put myself into their minds to understand what they must have been going through, but it would certainly be an understatement no matter what kind of words we chose to describe their feelings.

How much confusion and disruption are we willing to endure for Jesus’ sake? When the road gets bumpy and rough do we decide that we must be on the wrong road, that we must have misunderstood God’s call?

Father, thank you for your gift of Jesus Christ, who died for our sins that we might receive and accept his forgiveness. And thank you too, for the many faithful disciples from his generation until today, who made it possible for us to learn about him, to share his forgiveness, and to receive the eternal life Jesus brings. Never let us forget the price that has been paid, first by Jesus, and later by those who endured persecution, that the message might reach us today. Embolden us to carry the message forth with the same urgency as did those brave disciples throughout the centuries.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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13 For the LORD has chosen Zion,
     
he has desired it for his dwelling:
14 “This is my resting place for ever and ever;
     
here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it–
15 I will bless her with abundant provisions;
     
her poor will I satisfy with food.
16 I will clothe her priests with salvation,
     
and her saints will ever sing for joy.

17 “Here I will make a horn grow for David
     
and set up a lamp for my anointed one.
18 I will clothe his enemies with shame,
     
but the crown on his head will be resplendent.”

Psalm 132:13-18 (NIV)  

OK, now. This selection starts off with the LORD having chosen “Zion” as his dwelling place. I’ll have to admit that I’ve sung songs like “We’re Marching to Zion” and I’ve always had this warm fuzzy feeling when I heard the name, but today I had to look it up. Zion is often used as another name for Jerusalem which has also been called the City of David. More specifically it refers to a hill in Jerusalem, the highest point, which is considered to be the most holy place in Jerusalem. Zion is also referred to as heaven by many.

God has pronounced his blessings on Zion, declaring her (he uses feminine pronouns for Zion) to be his resting place forever. He has promised to bless and provide for her and her priests and saints forever.

God promises a “horn” which will grow for David. Fortunately for me, I read the footnotes on the word horn long ago and learned that whenever it is used it is referring to strength. These verses are referring not only to David’s son, Solomon, but they refer to Jesus Christ as well, the Most Holy descendent of David.

We mustn’t read these verses without recognizing the validity of the hand of God. Jerusalem has been the center of the Jewish faith from the time of King David. It was the center of the Jewish religion when Jesus walked this earth. It was the location where Jesus’ crucifiction, death, burial, and resurrection took place. Even though the Jewish nation hasn’t always held possession of Jerusalem, they have succeeded in regaining control of it. The whole world is focused on Jerusalem and the Middle East today causing many to read or re-read the book of Revelation.

Father God, may these verses increase our faith as we recognize your hands at work in the time of David, the time of Christ, and in our present and future. Give us the confidence and courage to continually put our faith and trust in you alone.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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