This week is an interesting collection of texts. Jeremiah and the New Covenant. Psalm 51-reminder of Ash Wednesday, and the idea of a new heart from Jeremiah linked together. The Letter to the Hebrews and Jesus the Great High Priest. The Gospel of John and “cross talk.”
- The pericope from Jeremiah is a favorite, the New Covenant. Not like the one made with the ancestors who were led by hand out of Egypt. The Law will no longer be something that is posted on walls and written on tablets, but the law will be engraved on people’s hearts. If I am not mistaken, the Hebrew for “writing on their hearts” is more like “carve it into”. (I confess, I am a lazy Hebrew scholar and have not gone straight to the text. But I remember a few discussion in Hebrew class on this passage–covenants are carved, and the Law in this case is carved/engraved on hearts.) That covenant results in all people knowing God, and all being forgiven of their sin. A powerful message in a season of penitence–we are forgiven.
- The psalm is an excellent compliment to Jeremiah. It is a prayer of penitence and a request for forgiveness. v. 10 is an excellent theme for the season: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
- The Hebrews passage is full of content–v.5-remember Baptism of the Lord Sunday–(also glorification which is seen in the Gospel text); v.6- Melchizidek’s order-Jesus is identified as being like the King mentioned in Genesis 14; Jesus is a High Priest (might be a good time to look at what the role of the High Priest was in biblical history.) Be sure to look at the significance of Melchizedek (The King of Righteousness is a literal translation of the name). I find this reading interesting but probably not one I would preach given the other possibilities.
- The Gospel Lesson is a rich Lenten text. The hour for Jesus’ glorification has come. But it is a different kind of glorification–it involves death and resurrection like a grain of wheat bearing fruit, or losing life for eternal life. v.26 reiterates the theme: Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor; I am especially intrigued by the “voice” in v. 28-reminiscent of his Baptism and his Transfiguration. At the close of the passage there is definite “cross talk”-with Jesus being lifted up. It is an excellent reading for the season as we journey with Jesus to Jerusalem and to Golgotha. The Christian life is glorified and cruciform at once.
- An interesting piece (mostly on Hebrews text) from Thomas Long- What God Wants
- A Day 1 Sermon from Dr. Donovan Drake- Breaking News! (Jeremiah text)
- WWJD? (he spells it out) John Donahue on the Gospel