A Prayer inspired by Hebrews 9:1-28

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Throughout our new series “The Final Word: Knowing Christ through Hebrews,” I am writing prayers related to the text on which we are preaching each week. This prayer is drawn from Hebrews 9:1-28. The complete list of prayers inspired by Hebrews is included at the bottom of this post. You can also view the message by Pastor Femi Ibitoye from this passage “Deep Worship,” here.

Father, we praise You for Your matchless glory.
You are beyond us veiled in holiness,
yet You revealed Yourself in Jesus the Son,
who is the exact representation of Your being.

Jesus Christ, we thank You for offering Yourself to God
as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,
presented through the eternal Spirit for eternal redemption.
You have become the Mediator of the New Covenant with God.

Jesus Christ, we know that Your blood is incomparable
to the blood of bulls and goats offered in the earthly tabernacle.
Thank You for entering into the heavenly tabernacle
to offer true and lasting cleaning and forgiveness.

We offer our lives as our humble gift in response to Your great gift.
May our bodies be as living sacrifices to You, merciful God,
our spiritual act of worship given back to You each day
as we grow from glory to glory until we see You face to face.

All this we pray, through Jesus Christ,
Our High Priest and Perfect Sacrifice,
to whom, with You and the Holy Spirit
be all honor and glory, now and forever.
Amen.


Prayers from Hebrews:

A Prayer inspired by Hebrews 7:26-8:13

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Throughout our new series “The Final Word: Knowing Christ through Hebrews,” I am writing prayers related to the text on which we are preaching each week. This prayer is drawn from Hebrews 7:26-8:13. The complete list of prayers inspired by Hebrews is included at the bottom of this post. You can also view my message from this passage “New Promise,” here.

Jesus, You are the One we truly need—
holy, blameless, pure, set apart.
You are exalted above the heavens
and the Name above every name.

Jesus, You are the Lamb of God we need.
You offered Yourself as once-for-all sacrifice.
You take away the sin of the world.
You do what we cannot do for salvation and life.

Jesus, You are the Mediator of the New Covenant we need.
You brought forgiveness of sins,
wrote God’s guidance on our inner being,
and have made knowing the Living God accessible to us.

Jesus, we love You.
Jesus, we need You.
Jesus, we call out to You.
Jesus, we praise You.
Amen.


Prayers from Hebrews:

A Prayer inspired by Hebrews 7:1-25

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Throughout our new series “The Final Word: Knowing Christ through Hebrews,” I am writing prayers related to the text on which we are preaching each week. This prayer is drawn from Hebrews 7:1-25. The complete list of prayers inspired by Hebrews is included at the bottom of this post. You can also view my message from this passage “Unlike Any Other,” here.

Father in heaven,
You made humanity in Your image
that we might show forth who You are to the world.
Thank You that although we fell into sin
and failed in our created calling,
You sent Your Son, Jesus, to redeem us
as both the once-for-all Sacrifice
and the Eternal Priest who offers that great gift.
Our lives have been bought with a price –
they are Yours, our God –
so fill us with Your Holy Spirit
that we might live in the fullness of Your power
and display the fullness of Your character
to the far reaches of this world
until the fullness of Your kingdom.

All this we pray, through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord
to whom, with You and the Holy Spirit
be honor and glory, now and forever.
Amen.


Prayers from Hebrews:

The Eternal Priest (Psalm 110)

Songs of the Savior Series GFX_App SquareThis past weekend at Eastbrook, I continued our series, “Songs of the Savior: Psalms for Advent,” by exploring Psalm 110.

I began by walking through the two sections of the psalm, giving attention to promise and fulfillment in those sections. I followed this by looking at the psalm Christologically, with attention to the many New Testament references and allusions to this psalm. Finally, we explored what it looks like to utilize this psalm within our Advent journey toward Christmas.

You can watch my message from this past weekend and follow along with the message outline below. You can also engage with the entire series here, participate in Eastbrook’s Advent devotional, or download the Eastbrook mobile app for even more opportunities to connect.

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The Eternal Priest: Advent Devotional, Week 3

Read Psalm 110

In the book of Genesis, Abraham and Sarah leave their homeland in present-day Iraq to follow God to wherever He will lead them. Their nephew, Lot, accompanies them, eventually getting into all sorts of trouble. At one point, Lot and his family are taken captive in the midst of a military campaign waged between two groups of kings who formed alliances between cities (Genesis 14). Abraham follows after his family members, eventually successfully delivering them and many others. On his return, Abraham encounters Melchizedek, king of Salem, who pronounces a priestly blessing over Abraham and his descendants.

The episode is interesting, but seems like a side alley in the journey of Scripture, until it reappears in Psalm 110. There, the messiah is described both as a conquering king and an eternal priest, bringing together both political and religious duties before people and God. King David seemed to serve in this way, leading the people to military victory while also restoring worship with the ark of the covenant in Jerusalem.

Melchizedek never appears again until the book of Hebrews, which mentions him nine times, each time describing this unique king and priest as a precursor of Jesus. In Hebrews 5, the description of Jesus as king from Psalm 2 is immediately connected with a description of Jesus as priest from Psalm 110. Jesus is simultaneously the once-for-all sacrifice that restores us to God through the Cross and the one-of-a-kind priest who offers that sacrifice in a way that endures forever. The entire book of Hebrews is an exploration of Jesus as the eternal priest before God on behalf of all humanity. “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 6:19-20).

As we journey through Advent, we readily remember how Jesus was born of Mary in Bethlehem many years ago, heralded by angels as “good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10). May we also remember that good news of joy arises because this infant Messiah would one day stand before God unlike anyone else, and both offer and become the atoning sacrifice for our sins. And now, “Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:34). He is our Eternal Priest.

REFLECTION QUESTIONS FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT:

  1. As Romans 8:34 points out, Jesus stands before God interceding for us. What does that mean for you and your life today?
  2. The sacrifice Jesus offered as “the perfect high priest” was Himself. How does this change your perspective on Advent and what kind of response does that invoke from you in your celebrations this year?

FAMILY TALK WEEK 3

Intended for Families with Young Children

“The LORD has made a promise. He will not change his mind.
He has said, ‘You are a priest forever,
Just like Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110:4, NIrV)

“First, the name Melchizedek means “king of what is right.” Also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” Melchizedek has no father or mother. He has no family line. His days have no beginning. His life has no end. He remains a priest forever. In this way, he is like the Son of God. . . He [Jesus] isn’t like the other high priests. They need to offer sacrifices day after day. First they bring offerings for their own sins. Then they do it for the sins of the people. But Jesus gave one sacrifice for the sins of the people. He gave it once and for all time. He did it by offering himself.” (Hebrews 7:2-3, 27 NIrV)

God is 100% super-holy. People are not.

So, back in the Old Testament, God made a way for people to come near to Him, even though they had sinned. God appointed “priests”—men who would offer people’s sacrifices on the altar, so that their sins would be forgiven. Priests represented the people before God.

In the Savior Song from Psalm 110, God is saying that Jesus is like a priest. Not like most Old Testament priests, but like one called Melchizedek (Mel-KIZ-uh-dek).

Most priests were born into the tribe of Levi.

Melchizedek was not from Levi. He lived before God’s people were divided into tribes.

Jesus was not from the tribe of Levi. He was from Judah.

Most priests were born into a family and died.

Melchizedek doesn’t have any family, or birthday, or time of death recorded in the scripture.

Jesus lives forever.

Most priests had to offer sacrifices over and over.

Jesus offered one sacrifice—HIMSELF—to pay for everyone’s sin, for all time!

This is why we don’t offer animal sacrifices at church. Jesus Himself is our priest, representing us before His holy Father, and Jesus Himself is our once-for-all-time sacrifice. He is our priest, sitting at the Father’s right hand, always praying for us (Romans 8:34).

[This is part of the Eastbrook Church 2019 Advent devotional, “Songs of the Savior.”]