(6 April 2014, 22 March 2015)
WE beseech you, Almighty God, mercifully to look upon your people; that by your great goodness they may be governed and preserved evermore, both in body and soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hates nothing that you have made and forgives the sins of all them that are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Exodus 24:4-8; Psalm 143; Hebrews 9:11-15; John 8:46-59
As we near the end of the season of Lent, in which we particularly focus on Jesus as the sacrificial offering, we first today focus on Jesus as the High Priest. Most Jews in his day expected the Christ would be a glorious king, so Jesus offered the corrective teaching in the Gospel reading that only the Father glorifies him; he does not glorify himself. This is due, in part, to his role as the priestly mediator of the New Covenant. The Epistle reading describes his high priestly role in such a way as to make the comparison to Moses (described in the Old Testament reading) all the more clear. With Jesus as our high priest it becomes not only possible, but necessary, to turn to him to seek escape from God’s judgment. The Collect and Psalm both point us in that direction.