Todays readings.. exodus 29, Psalm 85&86, Mark 14
In the Old Testament in Exodus (Ch.29) we are reading about the institution of the first covenant with Moses ordaining Aaron as High Priest and all the sacrifices of animals that were involved.
We compare this with what we read today in Mark’s gospel about the institution of the “new covenant” [ch. 14 v.24] that replaced all the sacrifices that were ordained through Moses. With the offering of God’s Son for him to become the High Priest forever – this brought to an end the Law. If we look at Hebrews 8 we will see its’ instructive references to the “new covenant” [v.13].
The first covenant and its associated laws were laws for a nation, the Israelites, for their national worship. The ‘new covenant’ is a law for each person individually. The principles established by the law through Moses were completed in the sacrifice of Christ.
Today’s reading in Mark shows us how Jesus created heart searching among his followers by saying, “one of you will betray me” [v.18] – this caused each one to ask, “Is it I?” [v.19]
Under the ritual of the original law there was not enough searching of the heart and today the same mistake is made when ritual and ceremony is created that distorts the simple act of the “new covenant” we read of today and in other parts of the New Testament.
It is rather remarkable that today’s reading in the Psalms (86) has such an appropriate prayer by the Psalmist. Let us deeply meditate on his appeal to God. “Teach me thy way O LORD that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. I give thanks to you O Lord my God with my whole heart.” [v.11.12]. This is exactly what Jesus wanted his disciples to do.
It is exactly what he expects from all those who seek a real living individual relationship with him.
Let us remember what Jesus told the woman of Samaria? “The hour is coming and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” [John 4 v.23] We must be teachable! The world that surrounds us – has no sense of this at all.