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August 23, 2020 Sunday School: His Choice - Pastor Perry Windecker

Instructions: Read through the lesson below (if you are in a group take turns reading). Then have a discussion, possible questions are included at the end. If you are alone, try to pair up with others in a small group though texting or even a phone call.


Lesson

“But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” (Hebrews 9:11-14 NIV).

My father was a left-handed first baseman. From all my relatives tell me, he was really good. He was even scouted by the majors in high school. All I know is that he really liked to watch baseball on TV. See, by the time I had come along he had moved on. He had something better that he had chosen. Even back then I’m sure he could have found a league or something to play in, but again he had something better. He had a family. He chose to earn a living and to provide for and spend time with us. He did not earn a lot and he had to work sometimes more than one job, but when he had time off we spent it together as a family. It was his choice.


Packed into our passages today there is so much theology that we could spend a week on them. Yes, Jesus our High Priest is far superior to all the other high priests who gave sacrifice after sacrifice year after year entering the Holy of Holies trembling in fear. Jesus Christ entered a more perfect tabernacle, the Most Holy Place. He accomplished what all the blood of goats and bulls could not.


Our world today has issues with seeing sacrifices the way that the Jewish congregations would have seen them.[1] We find the act of sacrificing something repulsive. They saw them with a sense of awe, they cleansed them.[2] They allowed the high priest to enter the Holy of Holies, albeit trembling in fear of uncertainties. But to sacrifice one’s life in service. To spend a lifetime providing, and protecting, and loving and caring for others is much easier for us to understand as a noble sacrifice.


Which brings us back to the passages, yes, all this other happened and is worthy of discussion, but today I want to spend time on why Jesus’ act of sacrifice was so effectual in atonement for us all. “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” He who was unblemished offered himself freely and without reservation for all, all of Adam’s race. Allowing us to not just be cleansed on the outside but cleaned all the way through, especially our consciences—making us perfect for service to God.[3] It was His choice that made His sacrifice so perfect, so noble, so much more. The author and perfecter of our faith, our hope, our atonement all by His choice!


Questions

1. How do you see sacrifices?


2. Can you see sacrifices as noble and loving, or only as a necessary thing?


3. Look up the definition for ‘Sacrifice,’ what do you find? Now look up the root Latin word for ‘sacrifice’ what did your find? (Did you find that the root Latin came from the same words as sacred or to mean “to make holy.”)[4]

1 Kevin L. Anderson, Hebrews: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, ed. Alex Varughese, Roger Hahn, and George Lyons, New Beacon Bible Commentary (Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 2013), 266.

2 Kevin L. Anderson, Hebrews: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, ed. Alex Varughese, Roger Hahn, and George Lyons, New Beacon Bible Commentary (Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 2013), 266.

3 Kevin L. Anderson, Hebrews: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, ed. Alex Varughese, Roger Hahn, and George Lyons, New Beacon Bible Commentary (Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 2013), 248 & 267.

4 Kevin L. Anderson, Hebrews: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, ed. Alex Varughese, Roger Hahn, and George Lyons, New Beacon Bible Commentary (Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 2013), 266.

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