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Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost

Our focus is on the Epistle this Sunday, and we read a devotion from Concordia Commentary: Hebrews.

Scripture Readings

Jeremiah 31:7–9
Psalm 126
Hebrews 7:23–28
Mark 10:46–52

Read the propers for today in Lutheran Service Builder.

Devotional Reading

Since God has sworn an oath that makes Jesus God’s Priest for eternity, his priesthood differs radically from the “many others” who were priests. Because “they were prevented by death from remaining” in service, there were many successive priests who served at the altar, each for only a short time in history. But Jesus “has the priestly service without any disruption.” And that not just for time, but “for eternity”! He has no deputies nor successors. No one needs to replace him as High Priest, for he is always in service. His priestly service cannot be interrupted by unavailability, disability, aging, sickness, or death, nor is it disrupted by anyone who displaces and replaces him, as was sometimes the case in Jewish history. Jesus’ person, office, and service are undivided and indivisible. His priestly service is permanent “because he remains” forever and “remains” in his priestly office forever (cf. 1:11–12; 13:8). It is not diminished by infirmity or curtailed by death; it is not subject to time and change but “remains for eternity” (7:24). The present force of the verb translated as “remains” is deliberate and emphatic. Since Jesus is eternal, he is always active and available in the Divine Service. He belongs to God’s eternal “Today” (cf. 1:5; 3:7, 13, 15; 4:7; 5:5). So people who live in an uncertain world and are unsettled by death have a secure foundation for access to God through Jesus by God’s oath, which establishes him as their eternal Priest. He is the one and only fixed point in their otherwise transitory, insecure existence on earth. . . .

The participial clause “because he always lives . . . to intercede on their behalf” explains how Jesus has the power to save and why. Those who approach God through him can receive salvation from God through him because he lives “to intercede on their behalf.” Since Jesus is the ever-living advocate for all of God’s people, he prays for them. He appeals to God for their deliverance from sin and for all their other needs. Yet his advocacy is broader than just speaking up for them. He intercedes by what he does for them as well as what he says for them. Just as the high priest acted on behalf of the Israelites in the daily service by making atonement for them with the blood of the lamb, burning incense for them as he bore their names before God, and offering up the burnt offering on their behalf, so Jesus, their “liturgical minister” (8:2), now appears before God on their behalf (9:24). But, unlike the Israelite high priest, who was unaccompanied, Jesus takes them with him into God’s presence (2:13b). He atones for their sins (2:17) by cleansing them with his blood (9:14) and brings them to the divine throne of grace, where they receive grace and mercy from God (4:16). The one who occupies the highest place of all, “higher than the heavens” (7:26), uses his power to help the lowly people on earth who are otherwise doomed to death and destruction. He brings them with him to God by his intercession for them, so that he can provide them with salvation from God.

Devotional reading is from Concordia Commentary: Hebrews, pages 363–65 © 2017 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Hymn

Video is of “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” © 2017 Concordia Publishing House.

 

Written by

Anna Johnson

Deaconess Anna Johnson is a marketing manager at Concordia Publishing House. After graduating from the deaconess program at Concordia University Chicago, she continued her studies at the University of Colorado—Denver in education and human development. She has worked as a church youth director and served a variety of other nonprofit organizations, such as the Lutheran Mission Society of Maryland. Anna loves playing video games and drinking a hot cup of tea almost as much as she loves her cat and her husband.

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