Bible Readings for March 18, 2018

The First Reading for the Fifth Sunday in Lent is recorded in Jeremiah 31:31-34. This is a passage we also read on Reformation Sunday each year. The prophet Jeremiah spoke to a rebellious and sinful people; people who had turned away from the Lord, and who refused to repent and return to God’s covenant. Much of Jeremiah includes personal information about the prophet and how he was treated, but the main thrust of the book is that God’s people have turned from Him by abandoning the covenant He made with them, that they must repent or God will punish them, and that God will one day establish a new covenant with the remnant who survive. Today’s passage is part of the section where God promises a new and better future through a new covenant. As Christians we know that this prophecy is being fulfilled through Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Notice that one day iniquity and sin will be forgiven; this only happens through Jesus. Each day let us die to the old sinful self and let the Lord raise up a new person in Jesus; only He can accomplish what He has promised through the prophecy of Jeremiah.
Holy Spirit, lead us each day to repentance and new life in Jesus. Put Your will and ways into our hearts and enable us to follow Jesus as Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

The psalm is recorded in Psalm 119:9-16. Oh how the psalmist loves God’s Word! Would that we would love the Word of God as much. Notice all the benefits the psalmist has found in God’s Word. Let us, like the psalmist, love God’s Word: read, study, learn, and be guided by His Word.
In the Bible the Word of God takes many forms: God’s spoken word, His written Word (the Bible), and the Word of God incarnate – the Word of God Who has taken on human flesh in Jesus. Let us love all of the ways God’s Word comes to us. Let us love Jesus.
Holy Spirit, guide and advocate, draw us more and more into the Word of God, and open our hearts and minds to Your work to enable us to grow in every way into Jesus. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

The Second Reading is recorded in Hebrews 5:1-10. Unfortunately we don’t read the book of Hebrews as often as we should; the book is filled with a proclamation of Who Jesus is, and the blessings He brings to us.
In today’s passage we read that Jesus is a new high priest, not according to the Levitical priesthood of the Old Testament, but He is a new priest after the order of Melchizedek, a priest who continues on forever. Notice that Jesus also suffered, and in so doing became the source of eternal salvation for all of us who obey through faith.
Lord Jesus Christ, we thank and praise You for Your willingness to be the high priest we need, and for Your willingness to go to the cross to accomplish our reconciliation with the heavenly Father. Keep us in faith in You. In Your Name we pray. Amen.

The Gospel is recorded in Mark 10:32-45. In this Gospel Jesus resolutely moves toward Jerusalem, where His enemies wait and conspire to destroy Him. In His love for His disciples Jesus tells them what will happen to Him in Jerusalem. They don’t get what He is saying to them, and instead continue on in their own concerns. Before we are too critical of the disciples let us ask ourselves where we don’t understand Jesus’ message and instead insert our own concerns. We are all too often more like the disciples in today’s passage than we care to acknowledge. But notice that Jesus patiently taught His disciples what true greatness is – it is in servant hood, as we see in His serving all humanity in His death and resurrection. Let us follow Jesus in servant hood.
Lord Jesus, as Your disciples, let us follow You in servant hood that gives of ourselves for the sake of others. Enable others to see You in our lives, and draw more and more people to You. Amen.

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