Memorial of Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

Daily Devotions

Heb 7:25-8:6; Ps 40:7-10,17; Mk 3:7-12

The eternal delight of the Son is to do the will of the Father, and by the Holy Spirit we are summoned to share in the Son’s pure delight.  The sacrifice and oblation that the Father desires is not a ritual meal or an animal sacrifice.  Indeed, the LORD God Almighty does not desire a burnt offering or a sin offering, rather, He longs for us to simply say, “Behold I come.”  Behold I am here, fully and completely here, and I want to do what you want me to do, the way you want me to do it, for as long as you want me to do it, simply because you want me to do it for the glory of your Name and in the Name of your Son and in the power of the Holy Spirit.  In this Divine Spirit we search the scroll of the Book to find out what is prescribed for us.  This searching is daily and diligent, but it is without fear because we know that the LORD has revealed his heart to us so that He might write his law within our hearts, and we might fulfill his commands without hesitation and with great delight.  Out loud and in public, we have announced his justice to the vast assembly.  We do not restrain our lips; the LORD knows this.  Our hearts are open books to him; even those things we hide from ourselves, we cannot hide from His sight.  We exult and we are glad in the LORD.  We rejoice in his saving love, and cry out without hesitation, “The LORD be glorified.”  Indeed, the saving love of the Lord Jesus is manifest in his being the mediator of a better covenant, enacted on better promises.  In this new covenant the sick are not ignored, by those who are powerful, and the powerful demons are quickly silenced.  Someone greater is here, and so is His Kingdom.

 

The great delight that the Son takes in doing the will of the Father is seen in his mission to make intercession for all who approach God through him.  Christ is this high priest, and he is holy, innocent, undefiled, and separated from sinners, higher than the heavens.  Unlike the priests of the earlier covenant, Christ does not offer sacrifice each day for his own sins then for our sins.  Like the Father, to whom this high priest offers sacrifice, the Son is perfect.  This perfect priest offers a perfect sacrifice because he offers himself.  This is the one true sacrifice offered in the heavenly sanctuary.  On earth Christ was not a functionary of the old temple.  He did not offer gifts according to the law.  Rather, Christ the Great High Priest has a more excellent ministry.  He is the mediator of a better covenant, enacted on better promises.  He mediates the union of every soul with the Father.  No longer do we just offer the blood of an animal to symbolize our self-gift; through him, with him and in him we offer the sacrifice of our very selves.  With all the saints in glory we pray: “take Lord, all is yours now.  You have given all to me; now I return it.  Give me only your love and your grace, that’s enough for me, your love and your grace are enough for me.”  The Lord Jesus Christ has a more excellent ministry because he breathes out upon us the Holy Spirit so that we can forgive those who trespass against us.  Indeed, it is our very nature that is given up so that we might receive the gift of his divine nature.  In the Holy Spirit and through the ministry of Christ, we become one with the Father.  Now, that’s a better promise.

 

The True Son of David could have avoided some of the hostility generated in the hearts of the religious authorities at the time if so many sick and possessed had not shouted his praise so loudly.  Unclean spirits shouting and crushing crowds were not the kind of response the Lord Jesus could use to avoid notice wherever he went.  He wanted his disciples to learn from him how to use the power of preaching and how to use the power of healing to bring the Kingdom of God into every time and place.  The Lord Jesus was not afraid of being unpopular because he sought to avoid the crushing crowd by going to a lonely place.  Nor was he afraid to confront sternly the unclean spirits who shouted out his identity.  Unlike King Saul, who was always trying to prove himself to God and the people, the Lord Jesus trusted in the Father’s approval and affirmation, and he did not pander to the crowd nor cower before the voices of the unclean spirits.  Indeed, we have much to learn from the secure and securing King of the Universe about our fragile ego and our absolute need to trust in the LORD.  Only when we trust in the Lord Jesus will we be able to avoid the control of those who know us or praise us loudly.  Only then will we be free to love and serve the LORD who has so loved and served us by sending his only beloved Son to be our savior and our only true friend.