Jesus Is Our High Priest Who Offers Himself
These are the readings for the Fifth Sunday in Lent.
God’s Word for This Week
Before Jesus was born, believers had to regularly offer up sacrifices for sin. Only the high priest could go before God with the blood and prayers of the people. These sacrifices would go on and on for the entire life of the Old Testament believer as a vivid reminder that God would send a Savior who would be sacrificed on the behalf of all people. Today the Word of God shows that Jesus, our High Priest, would sacrifice himself and bring a new covenant of life that would last forever.
FIRST LESSON – Jeremiah 31:31-34
What is the old covenant that the Lord had made with Israel when he took them out of Egypt?
The old covenant the Lord revealed to the children of Israel in the desert was a covenant that regulated everything the children of Israel did. They had laws of what to eat, how to clean, what to touch and not touch. They had Sabbath laws. God required animal sacrifices for many reasons; some happened daily.
What would be the new covenant that the Lord would make?
The Lord said the new covenant “will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers.” It would not contain any laws, rules, or regulations that must be kept or symbolic repeated sacrifices. Jesus would fulfill all of God’s demands. Jesus would keep all the laws and rules for all people. Jesus’ death would be the only sacrifice that would finally pay for the sins of the whole world. Jesus’ death would open the way to God; the veil in the temple was torn in two. Instead of a covenant of “You must do this and not do that,” Jesus’ new covenant comes through the assurance, “It is finished.” All of Jesus’ work is bestowed to us as the Holy Spirit uses the Word and sacraments to create and sustain faith in our hearts.
SECOND LESSON – Hebrews 5:7-10
How did Jesus show “reverent submission” when he prayed with “loud cries and tears”?
Jesus’ “reverent submission” is seen clearly in the agony of his prayers in Gethsemane the night before his death. There he said, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Does verse nine mean that only those who perfectly obey Jesus can be saved?
No. The apostle John writes, “We obey his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ” (1 John 3:22-23). Faith is obedience to God and is worked in the individual by God’s grace through the Word and sacraments.
GOSPEL – John 12:20-33
How would the death of Jesus be judgment for the world?
Jesus paid for the sins of the whole world at the cross. Those who reject this truth will be judged and condemned. Those through faith, who believe Jesus’ sacrifice was good for all eternity, will enjoy heavenly bliss for all eternity.
Who is the prince of the world that would be driven out of his position of power?
Satan is the prince of the world. Jesus defeated him by apparent surrender to death.