Grace and Peace be unto you. In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.
In Sunday's Collect, we entreat to God for mercy upon the people during the Passion Sunday. And what is passion? It is to suffer, bear, and endure as Jesus Christ had suffered for us before the cross and on the cross. As he had endured the humiliation, the indignity, and the torture, we gain great strength from his patience. And so we ask his great goodness, to govern and preserve our body and soul today as we go through our struggles during Lent.
In Sunday's Epistle, first, our Lord Jesus Christ comes as a high priest to perfect the tabernacle with his blood. So what is a high priest? This goes back to the days of Abraham. Abraham’s great grandson a Levite and his descendants were chosen as the Priests to intercede between God and his people. The priests made daily and yearly animal sacrifices as required by Jewish laws. And among all the priests, a high priest is selected to enter the holy place to place a blood sacrifice on the Ark of the Covenant during the Day of Atonement. But this animal sacrifice is to cover the sins of the people but it didn’t take away the sins of the people.
Second, let’s look at both the Old Testament and New Testament tabernacles. The Old Testament Tabernacle was to purify the physical flesh; it was temporary by covering up the sins; it had faith & works; it had animal sacrifice of goats & calves; and it was repeated daily and yearly.
The New Testament Tabernacle was to purify the spiritual soul; it was permanent by taking away our sins as announced by John the Baptist “behold the lamb of God that takest away the sins of the whole world;” it is faith only; it had Jesus Christ as the sacrificial lamb; and it was permanent, not to be repeated again and again.
Third, what happened during the Old Testament sacrifice? The priests would sacrifice a red heifer outside the camp before the high priest. The red heifer was chosen because the color red/scarlet is associated with sin (Isaiah 1:18). The high priest sprinkled the sacrificial blood seven times before the tabernacle. The heifer’s carcass was then burned in the sight of the high priest. The priests would cleanse the people with the heifers ashes mixed with water & hyssop because they touched a dead body or were in a tent with a dead body.
And fourth, the New Testament sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s blood provided a final and complete salvation. In other words, Jesus Christ is the cause of our salvation. And his eternal redemption cleansed our sin in our conscience, not the sin of the flesh of our dead works.
In Sunday’s Gospel, first, Jesus says which of you can prove me of sin? Our Lord puts the burden of proof to the adversarial Jews. But they have no evidence. Second, Jesus says if I tell you the truth then why do you not believe me? This is a solemn affirmation by Jesus because he who is of God hears God’s word. Here, the Pharisees do not believe because they are not of God. They bear false witness. They have no evidence. And they attempt to murder by stoning him. It is one thing to disagree but it is another to murder someone.
There, the Jews didn’t have the right to execute anyone, only the Romans did. Jesus tells the truth but the Jews don’t believe him. But why? They can’t conceive a Man/God duality. But he has shown he is a man. And he has created miracles & signs in the previous chapters and they still don’t believe.
Third, the Jews call Jesus a Samaritan (half Jew half non-Jew) and demon possessed. Here, the Pharisees taunt and vilify Jesus as an insult. Our Lord answers that he is not demon possessed and the Jews dishonors him. Jesus asserts then that he honors the Father and glorifies God.
Fourth, Jesus uses Verily Verily twice in the Gospel reading. This signifies firsthand knowledge & authority. Jesus says Verily Verily: If you keep my saying or words then he shall not see eternal death. But what do the Jews say. Instead they say Jesus is with the devil because Abraham & prophets are dead so how can you be greater than Abraham who is dead.
Fifth, Jesus tells the Jews that father Abraham rejoiced and was glad to see my day? The Jews say are you 50 years old and have you seen father Abraham? Now the 50 years is significant because it is the Jewish age of Jubilee. In the 50th year Jubilee, the rams horn are blown on the Jewish New Year, the Hebrew prisoners are freed, and debts are forgiven so that God’s mercies be manifested. Moreover, Jesus says verily verily, before Abraham was, I am. In other words, Jesus is saying he is God because he is applying I AM to himself. Jesus Christ was, is, and is to come as stated in the Book of Revelations.
Sixth, the Jews try to stone him but Jesus hid and went in the midst from the temple, not hiding in a corner but he walked right passed the Jews. In sum, why do the Jews not recognize Jesus as God? They cannot believe he is both man and God. So that they question him, vilify him, and crucify him. Who does this sound like? You my friend - the unbelievers, the agnostics, the atheists, and the Jews. They too cannot believe Jesus is the Christ because they all cannot believe he is both Man and God.
In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.
-- Deacon Anton Yoe
REMEMBER THE WORDS OF THE LORD JESUS, HOW HE SAID, IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE
Please click here to donate to St Andrew & St Margaret of Scotland. Your help is needed and greatly appreciated.
Sunday Services, 7:45, 9:00 & 11:15 AM nursery care provided during 9 & 11:15 AM services (for online participation for the services go to: https://www.facebook.com/saintsofscotland/ )
Sunday school, 10:30 AM
Wednesday Service 12 noon (can be seen also at https://www.facebook.com/saintsofscotland/)
Stations of the Cross & Lenten Suppers, Every Friday during Lent at 7:00 PM (except Good Friday) If you can provide a soup without meat and a bread supper for one or more of these Fridays, please sign up on the sheet on the bulletin board in the undercroft.
Vestry meeting, Monday April 25, 7:30 PM, undercroft
Please remember to pray for everyone on the parish's prayer list that is in the attached bulletins.
EASTER FLOWER DONATIONS – If you would like to donate toward flowers for Easter, please complete one of the forms found on the narthex table by Sunday, April 10. Forms and checks may be placed in the offering plate or mailed to the church office ( St. Andrew & St. Margaret of Scotland, 1607 Dewitt Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22301-1625). Please note “Easter Flowers” on the memo line of your check.
Your Food Donations are Greatly Needed
Please help this month with a food donation if you are able. Christ House is very thankful for the food we provide to them each month. Please also buy low sugar cereals (and not the kid's types that have lots of sugar). Current needs include the following:
• canned meats (chicken, corned beef, spam)
• peanut butter
• canned vegetables (corn, green beans - (regular and low sodium)
• individual fruit cups (low sugar)
• canned fruit (low sugar)
• cereal (low sugar)
• pasta (regular and gluten-free)
• instant potatoes
• Macaroni & cheese kits
• Coffee, cooking oil, flour, sugar
MaRIH Center is also in great need of our help (crisis pregnancy center)
MaRIH Center with its all volunteer staff has been providing help to mothers-to-be and mothers in need. If you can provide some of the items that are needed, please do so. (You can leave the donations where the food for the food bank is collected on the pew in the undercorft.)
Baby wipes (an ongoing great need)
Diapers (sizes 1, 4, 5, & 6)
Similac Advanced Formula
Batteries (all sizes)
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