“And every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, “he sat down at the right hand of God,” and since then has been waiting “until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.” For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:11 – 14)
Paul continues to lay it on . . . thick. Hearing it piece by piece, and over the weeks, I must admit I am weary of his argument. But then I am not Jewish and did not grow up with the idea firmly in my mind that the priest MUST intercede for me and make atonement and sacrifices for my sins.
And it strikes, beloved reader, how at a dichotomy the Jewish faith is to the Anabaptist faith. In Judaism the priest would be an essential part of each celebration, “toiling” away at making sure the people’s sins were covered and redeemed. In Anabaptism each person comes on their own to Jesus the Christ and the Lord God, and is confident that true & authentic confession & repentance will yield up mercy and forgiveness. Anabaptism is sort of at odds with Catholicism too, for the same reason. And interestingly enough, Judaism and Catholicism (other than the question and issue of the Messiah) have great similarities, one of which being the presence of priest in the belief system.
And think too of my grandparents ministering to the fellow Jews, and trying to explain to them the freedom that belief in the Christ brings. My grandmother (on my father’s side) came to faith when she was separated because of medical issues from her family – my father, my aunts, and my grandfather. How she worried for them. Where could she go with that burden? She was directed to the bible by a caring doctor; and through scripture to the Divine. And there she found rest and healing from all the plagued her.
“Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Verses 19 – 25)
If you doubt the connection between Judaism and Anabaptism, let me tell you another fact. My grandfather became an ordained minister in the Anabaptism (then called Mennonite) church. That is where their faith home was. And that legacy and connection was passed down to me. So I tell you, beloved reader, I have been steeped in faith since I first opened my eyes to this world. And will continue to be in that faith until my eyes shut for the last time. As my grandparents stepped boldly in their faith do too. And, if that is not enough, on my mother’s side there is Anabaptist faith spanning back generations to when they escaped persecution in the birth place of the Anabaptist faith.
May you, beloved reader, step boldly forward in your faith following the call of your spiritual forebearers and the apostles that learned their faith from Jesus the Christ. Shalom & Selah!