The blood of Christ described in today’s reading refers not simply to the bodily fluid but to the whole atoning, sacrificial work of Christ in his death.
The death of Jesus Christ did for us, as those who live in the New Covenant, what animal sacrifices did not and could not do for those who lived under the old covenant—take away sins.
The sacrifices of the old covenant did not remove the offerers’ guilt or provide them with full forgiveness for their sins. It was only symbolic of something else that ultimately would bring full forgiveness—the blood of Jesus Christ.
The animal sacrifices of the Old Testament merely covered sins. And the constant repetition of these rituals was a reminder of how inadequate they were. In the New Covenant, through the blood of Jesus, our sins are removed, forgiven, and forgotten. (See Matthew 26:27-28.)
In our Christian walk, we sometimes stumble and fall. This happens to all of us; and when it does we experience feelings of guilt. Our consciences accuse us. But when we sincerely repent of the wrong we have done, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
Let us embrace the new chance of full forgiveness and live free from guilt.
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body . . . let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings” (Heb. 10:19-20, 22, NIV).
Ruth and Psalm 146 share a thematic connection. Ruth is a foreigner who decides to follow the God of the Israelites, and the psalmist praises God for being the trustworthy God who cares about the poor, the oppressed, and the foreigner. In Ruth, Boaz will demonstrate this kind of care for her. The New Testament readings focus on sacrifice. Hebrews teaches us that Christ was both the greatest high priest and the eternal sacrifice. A scribe in Mark receives praise from Jesus, for he understands that the sacrificial system is less weighty than the act of loving one’s neighbor. Ruth and this scribe are examples of those, named and anonymous, who have come before us in the faith.
Read Ruth 1:1-18. When have you left the familiar behind to set out into the unknown? Where did you experience God’s presence and help in that situation?
Read Psalm 146. When have you witnessed God at work in the world in a way that gave you hope about an otherwise seemingly hopeless situation?
Read Hebrews 9:11-14. How does the redemption offered in Christ’s death free you to worship the living God? What form does your worship take?
Read Mark 12:28-34. What does it mean to you to love your neighbor as you love yourself? How do you act on that commandment in your everyday life?
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