29 January 2019
Since the Law has no more than a reflection of these realities, and no finished picture of them, it is quite incapable of bringing the worshippers to perfection, with the same sacrifices repeatedly offered year after year. Otherwise, the offering of them would have stopped, because the worshippers, when they had been purified once, would have no awareness of sins. Instead of that, the sins are recalled year after year in the sacrifices. Bulls’ blood and goats’ blood are useless for taking away sins, and this is what he said, on coming into the world:
You who wanted no sacrifice or oblation,
prepared a body for me.
You took no pleasure in holocausts or sacrifices for sin;
then I said,
just as I was commanded in the scroll of the book,
‘God, here I am! I am coming to obey your will.’
Notice that he says first: You did not want what the Law lays down as the things to be offered, that is: the sacrifices, the oblations, the holocausts and the sacrifices for sin, and you took no pleasure in them; and then he says: Here I am! I am coming to obey your will. He is abolishing the first sort to replace it with the second. And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ.
The mother and brothers of Jesus arrived and, standing outside, sent in a message asking for him. A crowd was sitting round him at the time the message was passed to him, ‘Your mother and brothers and sisters are outside asking for you.’ He replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking round at those sitting in a circle about him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.’
“Whoever does the will of God is brother and sister and mother to me”
In business, we are familiar with the phrase that it’s all about who you know. Who you know gets you through the door: the interview, the place in school, the job, the meeting, the project, the keys to the executive washroom… all of this whether we are deserving of it or not. All some of us have to say are “I am so and so’s brother’s second cousin twice removed” or “So and so is the sister of my classmate from 20 years ago”. As if these are the magic words that would open doors and make us automatically the best of friends. The sad truth is that actually, sometimes they are. But not for heaven, and not for Jesus.
With Jesus, there is only one person that we need to know and one criteria: to know God and to do His will. The first time I read the verse above, I was astounded. It sounded as though Jesus was denying his own family. But the more I read it, and into it, the more I realised that actually, he isn’t denying his family or relations, he is saying that there is more to life than blood relations. Access to Jesus is not just about being kin, it is available to you and me and all of us. It is based on obedience to God. Jesus isn’t saying that his family aren’t his family, or because they are family they therefore have the right to more time and attention from him; he is saying that everyone gathered there whom he considered as obedient to God, also had the same rights to his time and attention. “No one comes through the Father but through me,” says Jesus (John 14:6). Everyone is hungry to know God, everyone needs God in their lives, to hear His words and live His truths. Not just a select few. To Jesus, everyone is equally important.
The next question is why were they all equally important? My guess is that because they believed in him, as the one sent by God, as the Messiah. For earlier on in the Gospel of John, it is stated that “This is the will of the Father, that whoever sees the Son and believes in him shall live with eternal life; and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:40). The will of God is that we believe in Jesus as the Son of God. There are other things that God wills us to do too in the Bible, but one of the main ones is that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He is the only connection that we need to have, and the only one we need to know and believe in order to know God.
(Today’s Oxygen by Annette Soo)
Prayer: Lord, in this busy and constantly moving world where we strive to make connections, I pray that I never lose my connection with you. Help me to keep our connection alive, through prayer and quiet reflection.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord for hearing me, even when my “connection” is bad. Thank you for counting me as family.