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The Power of the Play

When I was in high school, my parents encouraged me to get involved in various activities at school, in the church, in the community in order to discover my interests and perhaps a life direction. Thus, one day I tried out for a high school play and, without any previous experience, I landed the lead role. That was the first of many productions I got involved in, and in college, I consequently became a drama major. People have debated for centuries what is most important in a play. Is it plot or character? For my money, I would bet on the characters being the most important element in a play. After all, it is the characters and their motivations that drive the plot. Thus, I would suggest to you that the power of the play is in the characters, and as we come to our text in the Gospel of John today, we approach what William Barclay has called “the most dramatic account of the trial of Jesus in the New Testament”. You may wonder why we are looking at this text today that focuses on the even…
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A Better Priest

Have you ever heard about the person who ordered plans for a birdhouse online? Instead of sending the plans for the birdhouse, the company sent plans for a sailboat by mistake. The customer tried to put it together, but it just wouldn’t work. He couldn’t figure out what kind of bird was going to live in this dumb birdhouse. So, he sent the parts back to the company and wrote them an angry email. In response the company emailed the customer. After their apology they added this post script: “If you think it was difficult for you, you should have seen the man who got yourplans trying to sail a birdhouse.”
Sometimes we face problems in life because we don’t understand the purpose of something or even someone we are working with. In our text for today the writer to the Hebrews tells his readers that they have misunderstood the purpose of the law and the sacrifices in the Hebrew Scriptures. They thought they had plans for a birdhouse when what they really had were plans and parts for a sailb…

A Better Will

I’m sure, if you are like me, you have wondered if someone, somewhere, sometime, might ever leave you some large inheritance in their will. Maybe you don’t have any wealthy people in your immediate family, but perhaps there is some long-lost cousin somewhere, or some friend who knows you from afar and wants to bless you. Do you ever imagine what that would be like—to open the mail one day and find that someone has left you a million dollars? In the passage from the book of Hebrews that we are going to read today we are going to learn about Jesus’ last will and testament. And it is a better will than any other will ever written because in it we are guaranteed much more than a million dollars. Let’s see what great promises are offered to us in Jesus’ will. Listen for the word of God to you from Hebrews 9:15-28… For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, because a death has occurred that redeems them from…

A Better Covenant

When Becky and I were newlyweds, we lived in an ordinary two-bedroom apartment in a complex on a hum-drum, suburban road in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was nice enough, but there was no view, nothing of particular interest about it, nothing we would ever want to go back to experiencing again.
When we left Charlotte, we moved to Redondo Beach, California. We lived on the Esplanade directly across from the Pacific Ocean. With our bedroom window open at night, we could hear the crashing of the waves. By day, we could see the sunlight glinting off those pearly waters of the Pacific from the large front window in our living room. Living where we did in Redondo Beach wasn’t perfect, but it was a huge step up from where we had lived in Charlotte.
In our Scripture passage for today, the writer to the Hebrews shows us how much better the new covenant (or new deal) in Jesus is from the old covenant (or old deal). It is so much better that the thought of going back to the old is unthinkable, jus…