Prepare to Listen. In anticipation of the resurrection, be still and pray: Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.
Prayerfully Read Hebrews 10:4-10
4For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, ‘Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me; 6in burnt-offerings and sin-offerings you have taken no pleasure. 7Then I said, “See, God, I have come to do your will, O God” (in the scroll of the book it is written of me).’ 8When he said above, ‘You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt-offerings and sin-offerings’ (these are offered according to the law), 9then he added, ‘See, I have come to do your will.’ He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. 10And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
‘See, God, I have come to do your will, O God.’ Today’s reading in Lent anticipates what is coming soon as Lent moves into Holy week and Easter. The writer of Hebrews quotes from Psalm 40, attributing its words to Jesus. We know from Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane, that they reflect his words as he prayed: ‘not what I want but what you want’ and ‘your will be done’ (Mt 26:39, 42). It was a costly prayer, a costly commitment of obedience to God’s will—he suffered an excruciating death on a cross, sacrificing his life.
The sacrifices Israel religiously offered year after year were ineffective unless they were accompanied by obedience, repentance and faith. Each sacrifice looked forward to the one great sacrifice of Jesus, a sacrifice accompanied by absolute obedience and faith in God’s power to make his sacrifice effective for all creation. Today, we look back to the cross with gratitude and faith; we look forward to living a life, like Jesus’ life, of obedience and faith because of his sacrifice.
While animal sacrifices were necessary under the Mosaic covenant, what God always most desired was obedience and faith (see 1 Samuel 15:22 and Hosea 6:6). Reflect today on your Lenten sacrifice (whether made voluntarily or been forced on you because of the coronavirus crisis). Ask yourself whether it is accompanied by obedience, faith, mercy and the knowledge of God.
Respond to Jesus
You came, Jesus, to do God’s will and remained committed to that to the end. May I too be like you, committed unerringly to doing you will today, committed to faith, obedience and mercy for myself and others. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world for which Jesus sacrificed his life.
Because I believe that Scripture is food for our soul (our entire being) I seek to read it and encourage others to read it in ways that nourish and transform our beings. I invite you to read the Bible with me during Lent and into Easter. I am a Bible teacher, spiritual companion and retreat director. I know the Bile and how to read it for spiritual formation.