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Mass Study Notes for Sunday 6-7-2015

Welcome back to the Sunday Mass notes for 6-7-2015. This week we open with the Old Testament book of Exodus and learn about the giving of God’s Law and the people’s response to it. Then we move to Hebrews in the New Testament, where Jesus is shown to be our high priest, fulfilling the role pictured in the Old Testament offering of sacrificial blood to cover sin. Finally we conclude with the Gospel of Mark, and learn about the Last Supper, where Jesus clearly spoke of the significance of Communion, the offering of His body and blood. Look for a common theme in these readings.

The first reading is from the second book of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. As the name implies, it records the story of Israel’s deliverance after 400 years of slavery in Egypt and the long journey of forty years to the Promised Land. After the exodus from Egypt and during the long journey through the wilderness, God appeared to Moses on Sinai Mountain and delivered to him the Law. The summary of it, the Ten Commandments, is in chapter 20, and the next several chapters explain more fully the covenant God is making with His people. Laws and regulations relating to worship, offerings, sacrifices, and the building of a tabernacle for His dwelling place are given in great detail.

First Reading

Exodus 24:3-8 NAS95 3 Then Moses came and recounted to the people all the words of the LORD and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice and said, "All the words which the LORD has spoken we will do!" 4 Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD. Then he arose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 he sent young men of the sons of Israel, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as peace offerings to the LORD. 6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and the other half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. 7 Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!" 8 So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, "Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words."

We have read now about the people’s response to the giving of God’s Law. When Moses came down from the mountain and revealed the Law the people unitedly agreed to obey the Law completely. Moses built an altar and sacrifices were made as God had commanded, including the sprinkling of blood on the altar. It was the beginning of many years of offering such sacrifices and picturing the ultimate sacrifice of blood to be made by the Messiah centuries later. When Moses read the “book of the covenant” to the people they once again vowed to be obedient to the Law. Obedience ought to be the response of every Christian when they hear God’s Word: “I will obey.”

Second Reading

 In the First reading, reference was made to God’s covenant with His people, Israel. In this passage we read of a “new covenant.” The old covenant was sealed with the blood of sacrificed animals, and the new covenant was sealed with the blood of Jesus. He is seen here as the high priest who offers the acceptable sacrifice (His death burial, and resurrection) to atone for our sin.

Hebrews 9:11-15 NAS95 11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

The Old Testament priests had to repeat the sacrifices in the Tabernacle and the Temple, which were mere symbols of the dwelling place of God, for “the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands” (Acts 7:48). But Jesus entered into “the greater and more perfect tabernacle”—into the very presence of God—to present the sufficient sacrifice of His blood. So, not only has Jesus paid the price for our sin, He has also become the one mediator between man and God (1 Timothy 2:5). Therefore, Christians can rejoice that through the work of Jesus on our behalf, we have the “promise of the eternal inheritance,” ever to be with Jesus in heaven.

Gospel Reading

The three readings for today all make mention of a covenant. In Exodus it was God’s covenant with man that required the keeping of the Law, including blood sacrifices as a picture of cleansing. In Hebrews the writer reminds us of a new covenant that God offers to people through the sacrifice of Christ’s blood that satisfied God’s demands for justice. In the Gospel reading we have the account of the Last Supper with its deep, significant teaching of essential truth.

Mark 14:12-26 NAS95 12 On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb was being sacrificed, His disciples said to Him, "Where do You want us to go and prepare for You to eat the Passover?" 13 And He sent two of His disciples and said to them, "Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him; 14 and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, 'The Teacher says, "Where is My guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?"' 15 "And he himself will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; prepare for us there." 16 The disciples went out and came to the city, and found it just as He had told them; and they prepared the Passover. 17 When it was evening He came with the twelve. 18 As they were reclining at the table and eating, Jesus said, "Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me--one who is eating with Me." 19 They began to be grieved and to say to Him one by one, "Surely not I?" 20 And He said to them, "It is one of the twelve, one who dips with Me in the bowl. 21 For the Son of Man is to go just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born." 22 While they were eating, He took some bread, and after a blessing He broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is My body." 23 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And He said to them, "This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly I say to you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God." 26 After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

 

The Passover supper provided clear illustrations of God’s grace and mercy to sinful men. First, it points back to the delivery of Israel from Egypt. When the angel of death fell upon the Egyptian households, their firstborn children died. But the Jewish children survived because the families had sprinkled the blood of a sacrificial lamb (representative of Jesus, the Lamb of God) on their doorposts. The celebration of Passover for the Jews is a vivid reminder of deliverance by blood. Now, on this special night in Jerusalem Jesus uses object lessons to demonstrate that it is essential to identify by faith in His blood and body in order to receive the offered gift of salvation and a personal relationship with God. In stark contrast to this gracious offer, Jesus points out that one of the Twelve, who had walked and worked with Him, would betray Him. In fact, before the night was over, all of the disciples would fail the Master, but eleven repented and returned. We must be aware that being near Jesus is not enough; one must put His full trust and faith in Him lest he, like Judas, fall away. We must identify with Christ in His passion and ministry to fully enjoy the grace and mercy He offers.

Bottom Line: Questions for Reflection

1. In the second reading we saw some powerful statements about both the identity and the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ towards believers.  Study the text of this reading again and answer the questions that follow.

Hebrews 9:11-15 NAS95 11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

A.  The author of Hebrews described how Jesus as the eternal High Priest entered not into the tabernacle built by Moses but into a far different place.  Describe the attributes of the “more perfect tabernacle” (v. 11) into which Jesus entered.  In what ways was this tabernacle different from the one built by Moses?

B.  Verse 15 begins with the phrase, “For this reason.” For what reason is the author or Hebrews referring?

2. In the Gospel lesson we read about Jesus’ last supper with His disciples and His call to the disciples to reflect upon whether they would be the one who betrayed Him (v. 18). How does what you learned today about the eternal nature of the ministry of Jesus as our highly priestly King enable you to better answer a question about your own ability to take a stand for our Lord?

Readings for the Week  

Note: For a listing of readings for the Roman Catholic Mass visit this web site:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/060715.cfm

First Reading  EX 24:3-8

Second Reading HEB 9:11-15

Gospel Reading MK 14:12-16, 22-26

Source(s):

Online Scripture verses for most Bible versions can be found at:  http://www.biblegateway.com/

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB

About the Author:
Jesse Deloe Edited by Jim Hill
Jesse Deloe lives in Winona Lake, Indiana, with his wife Gladys. They are the parents of two adult sons and enjoy their four grandchildren. Both are retired but remain active in church and community activities. Jesse has served in a variety of pastoral and administrative positions in church-related organizations. He also was senior editor in a Christian book publishing company and continues to work as a free lance editor. Jesse graduated from Indiana University with a major in French and holds a Master of Divinity degree from Grace Theological Seminary. He also did doctoral studies at Ball State University. His goal is to develop written material that will enhance a Christian’s Bible study and enable him or her to grow as a committed follower of Jesus Christ.

Tags: Communion, PASSOVER, NEW COVENANT

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For a listing of readings for the Roman Catholic Mass visit: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB
Online Scripture verses for most Bible versions can be found at:
http://www.biblegateway.com/