Hebrews 13.15-17,20-23; Ps 22; Mark 6.30-34

The Scriptures, often touted as a simple guidebook to living well, are for most casual readers virtually impenetrable. Scripture study is a necessarily serious endeavour; not the least of its difficulties is the resolution of its many apparent contradictions. For example, endless chapters are devoted to the minutiae of the sacrifices God is said to demand of his people, only for God’s accredited spokesmen (prophets) to declare in God’s voice that ‘I hate your sacrifices.’ [Amos 5.21; Isaiah 1.11-17]

The author of Hebrews is convinced that the ancient Law with its sacrifices ‘was neither effective nor useful, since the Law could not make anyone perfect’ [Hebrews 7.18; cf 9.10;
10.7-8]. Still, he recognises that human life is a journey into the heart of God, a quest for the ordinary to be transfigured into the likeness of God himself. Sacrifice, from the Latin words
sacrum facere (‘to make holy’), is the name for this. For Hebrews the sacrifice of Christ Jesus on the Cross is singular [10.12] and efficacious. [10.14] But that sacrifice demands a response from us. ‘Let us …share his degradation’ [13.14] we are exhorted. More than that ‘let us offer God an unending sacrifice of praise’. [13.15] By faithful offering of that sacrifice we may find ourselves transformed and transfigured: turned from our death-targeted lives ‘into whatever is acceptable’ [13.21] to the God whose call created us, redeemed us, and day by day sustains us, the God whose intention for us is not death but life worthy of the name. [cf John 10.10]

Posted in Daily Reflection.