In the scriptures for this past week, God spoke through the prophet Joel, the psalmist, the whirlwind, and Jesus (God incarnate). Today, we have the witness of this cosmic yet earthly God and how God’s power works on behalf of humankind.
Hebrews tells us that Jesus was assigned the role of high priest, not to glorify himself but because God designated him. He offered up prayers and supplications for himself while in the flesh; learned obedience through suffering; was perfected; and thus is the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.
The identity of high priest is not something Jesus claimed of himself in the Gospels, though the high priest is responsible for the holiness and wellbeing of the community. (See Leviticus 10:8-11.) The Gospels do not suggest that Jesus had to be perfected through suffering. They do portray his human anguish and petition to be delivered from that suffering and show his perfect obedience by enduring it.
Consider the characteristics of the “mortal” high priest: to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins and to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward. The high priest does not presume but acts because of God’s call. Each of us, by God’s power and by the example of Jesus Christ, is capable of and called to such a role.
What might you do better or differently if you viewed yourself as a humble agent of God to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward? What would change if you were to offer “gifts and sacrifices” for sin (if only for your own)? How might you act differently if you kept at the front of your mind that you are subject to weakness—and may also yourself be the ignorant or wayward person? What might be the response of others if you consistently demonstrated this kind of servanthood?
Gracious God, guide me to seek the Christian perfection that is possible through perfect submission to your will. Amen.
At this point in Job’s story, God has heard questions from Job and long-winded moralizing by three of Job’s friends, who have pronounced that his misfortunes are divine judgment. Now God has heard enough and declares that God’s perspective is superior to theirs. God has been there from the beginning, as the psalmist reiterates, so no one should claim to know God’s mind or speak on God’s behalf. Even Jesus, the divine Son of God, yields to his heavenly Father. Hebrews tells us that Jesus made appeals to God as the ultimate high priest and thereby became the source of salvation for those who obey him. In the Gospel reading, Jesus specifies that his approaching act of submission and service will allow him to become a ransom for us.
Read Job 38:1-7, 34-41. How do you continue to hold on to belief in God’s goodness when you are in a period of anguish?
Read Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c. How do you share in the creativity of God?
Read Hebrews 5:1-10. In what ways does the understanding of Jesus’ willing vulnerability while serving as high priest affect the way you interact with others?
Read Mark 10:35-45. Where do you see genuine examples of servant leadership in your community?
Respond by posting a prayer.
This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.