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Lent Readings

Readings Begin February 18

Daily Lent Readings
 

"He is risen, indeed!" Lent has passed but that doesn't mean the daily readings have to go away. Some of you might be discovering this page for the first time. Others who participated during Lent might find it helpful to revisit a particular reading. For these reasons, we will leave this page up for a while.
 
We pray that you experience the wonder of interacting with our Savior in a personal, transformative way!
 
All the readings are also available via podcast on Apple or Spotify. Click here for more information.
 
"A New Light Shining" painting by Youngsung Kim from Havenlight
 
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Day 40

DAY 40  MAUNDY THURSDAY
O Great High Priest
 
Imagine standing with Jesus, right next to him, in prayer to his Father. Read this passage of praise aloud. As you do so, consider that you are praying along with Jesus, your two voices becoming one as you bless God.  
 
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
   and all that is within me,
   bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
   and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity
   who heals all your diseases, 
who redeems your life from the pit,
   who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
   so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:1-5)
 
Psalm 110:1-4 
 
The LORD says to my Lord:
   “Sit at my right hand,
   until I make your enemies your footstool.”
 
The LORD sends forth from Zion
   your mighty scepter.
   Rule in the midst of your enemies!
Your people will offer themselves freely
   on the day of your power,
   in holy garments;
from the womb of the morning,
   the dew of your youth will be yours.
The LORD has sworn
   and will not change his mind,
“You are a priest forever
   after the order of Melchizedek.”
 
The Lord is at your right hand;
   he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
He will execute judgment among the nations,
   filling them with corpses;
he will shatter chiefs
   over the wide earth.
He will drink from the brook by the way;
   therefore he will lift up his head.
 
What Is This Psalm About?   
 
Are you ready for strange? This is the psalm most often quoted in the New Testament! Technically it is a royal psalm, extolling the divine favor upon the king. However, there is much more going on. It’s worth the hard work to unpack it. 
 
First, we have to recall the difference between “LORD” and “Lord.” The all-capital letters of LORD render the four Hebrew letters that we translate as YHWH, pronounced “Yahweh.” This is the sacred name of the one true God, revealed to Moses in Exodus 3. This is a holy and specific name. “Lord” renders the Hebrew word we transliterate as Adonai, a title of respect that can range in meaning from “sir,” to an owner, to the God who rules and reigns over all. Out of respect for the sacred name, the Hebrews might see the letters YHWH yet read aloud Adonai. The two words can be interchangeable. But not in Psalm 110!
 
Psalm 110 begins by using both terms as if two distinct persons were having a conversation: “The LORD (Yahweh) says to my Lord (Adonai).” This flips the circuit breakers in my mind! Wait. Who’s speaking? David is the author of this psalm, so David records a conversation he heard. The eternal God was speaking to someone whom David called his Lord? But David was the king! No human being was higher than David. So who could be King David’s Lord? Perhaps some future king in David’s line through whom the LORD I AM would exercise full and flourishing reign over not just Israel but the whole earth. And yet, how could the LORD be speaking to this future king if he had not yet come to be?  
 
How God’s people must have puzzled over this psalm before Jesus came! For it seems that the LORD speaks to another divine being, one who is alive now but will in the future come to reign next to the LORD and see all his enemies subdued.
 
And there is still more mystery to come. The LORD next swears a promise to this Lord. He is not only a king, but he is also a priest. A priest connects human beings with God. He speaks to people on behalf of God, and speaks to God on behalf of the people. But this Lord in Psalm 110 is not be a usual priest of Israel, someone descended through Aaron the first priest and his son Levi. No, this lordly priest, already alive in heaven, “is after the order of Melchizedek.”  
 
Genesis 14:18 tells us that Melchizedek was both a priest of God and the king of Salem in Abraham’s time. Abraham gave tithes of the victory spoils to Melchizedek, as if he were making an offering to the LORD himself. And Melchizedek gave Abraham bread and wine, entering personal communion with him. He blessed Abraham in the name of God Most High, and blessed God for subduing Abraham’s enemies. 
 
Let’s put all that together. Psalm 110 directs us to a mighty king who brings peace, a priest who offers bread and wine and blessing. He already exists and yet is coming. He will share rule with the I AM himself. Remind you of anyone?
 
What Might This Psalm Have Meant to Jesus?
 
Three gospels record Jesus himself teaching from Psalm 110! Matthew tells it this way:
 
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, 
 
‘The Lord said to my Lord, 
“Sit at my right hand,
   until I put your enemies under your feet”’? 
 
If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” (Matthew 22:41-45) 
 
Through his years of reading the Psalms in his prayers to the LORD whom he knew intimately as Father, Jesus realizes how Psalm 110 had been written for him! This prophetic song of David gives Jesus insight into his unique identity as a man born of Mary and the Son of God conceived by the Holy Spirit. He follows the Scriptural logic to know that only one person could be both the son and the Lord of David. Only one man could rule over Israel from the heavenly position of the Father’s right hand—Jesus himself.
 
Moreover, Hebrews quotes Psalm 110:2 three times to connect Jesus with the Melchizedek priest. The true connector between God and humanity had to be the eternal Son of God who took flesh as Jesus. He is our faithful high priest not by virtue of Levite descent, “But by the power of an indestructible life” (Hebrews 7:16). In rising, Jesus becomes like no other priest in that he is able to intercede for us forever. For Jesus himself will become the atonement in which we are reconciled to the Father. 
 
Praying with Jesus
 
What was it like to read a conversation
Between your Father and the saving King and Priest,
Only to realize that you were there?
To have it dawn in your mind
That the promised mighty righteous king
And the longed-for effective high priest
Are not only the same person, but you!
 
Jesus, you are the key that unlocks
The secrets of the Scriptures,
You are the realized hope that fulfills
The ancient yearning of your people.
You are the gentle shepherd
Who is the triumphant warrior,
Scattering the powers of evil
And freeing your people from death and hell.
 
You, Jesus, my familiar friend,
My brother in the flesh,
You are the Mighty One
Who tenderly lifts me up,
You are the abundant one who nourishes
My hungry heart and fills my empty soul.
Blessed, most glorious are you!
 
 
 
 

 

Posted in: Lent