Thursday, February 9, 2017

February 9

Exodus 29:1-30:10; Matthew 26:14-46; Psalm 31:19-24; Proverbs 8:14-26 

Today when I read, I was reminded of Mary's post last month about the nature of covenant (see here).  It always needs blood; the promise can only be ratified with sacrifice.  Blood and sacrifice and priesthood are all over our Old Testament reading today: blood on ears and thumbs and toes; sacrifice of pure animals; the approach of the high priest to the most holy of places.  I couldn't help but think of the blood of Jesus, the perfect sacrifice, the high priest who made it possible for me to enter the most holy of places. And I was struck by the public eating that Aaron and his sons do when they eat the meat and bread "at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting" (Ex. 29:32-33).  How similar that is to the communion that I take publicly each week!  This ancient sacrifice was a reminder of God's presence (29:42-43, 45-46); the bread and wine of the Lord's table are a similar prompt.

Isn't it amazing how fully Jesus realized the covenants of old?  I'm a bit staggered at the moment.  I got all excited about writing on the installation of the priests and the blood required and so started writing before I finished reading.  (Didn't want to lose all my insightful thoughts, you know.)  And then I turned the page to our New Testament reading and realized we were reading about the Last Supper!  Could you get any more apropos?  To be thinking and writing about the new covenant of Jesus and our recognition of that through communion and then to be confronted by the first Bread and the first Cup?  This 'happenstance' is one of the elements I love most about The One Year Bible.  We get to see all of Scripture blended together in a seamless whole, flowing into and through each other.

One more note on the Lord's Supper as we read it for the first time this year: Jesus is making what would have been almost an obscene connection between the bread and his body and the wine and his blood.  Think of what he's asking his disciples to do as he says, "Take and eat; this is my body....Drink....this is my blood" (Mt. 26:26-28).  These men have never drunk blood in their lives; they were good, orthodox, obedient Jews who knew that the lifeblood of any animal should be poured out before God (see Lev. 17:10-14).  These men have been rigorous about maintaining their dietary restrictions, and so would be appalled by the thought of eating human flesh, even in comparison.  Jesus is taking a traditional activity - the bread and the cup - and upending it entirely, establishing a new normal.  His disciples had to be willing to let go of what they thought they knew to embrace all that Jesus offered.

Lord God, I, too, need to let go of what I think I know.  Remind me of your great love and sacrifice offered through the death of Jesus on the cross.  Thank you for the blood that washes away my sin; may I never take it for granted.  Amen.

- Sarah Marsh

How did God speak to you in Scripture today? Click here to share your reflections on God's word or read past posts. We'd love to hear from you. 

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