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    (Below is a modified version of a devotional that I wrote for my church.  It is based on the readings from these passages of Scripture: Psalm 63, 98; Daniel 9:3-10; Hebrews 2:10-18; John 12:44-5)

    Put yourself in the sandals of a First Century Jew.  All you have ever known about God has been told to you throughout your life.  You might have experienced it as well in the various temple sacrifices and ceremonies throughout the course of your lifetime.  You remembered the Exodus, the Exile, the victory of the Maccabean revolt at Hanukkah, and still looked forward to the day when the Messiah would bring about God’s complete reign on earth.  You trusted in God, and wanted to keep his commandments, being faithful to the gracious God of Israel.  You didn’t want to end up like the people in Daniel’s day, removed from the Promised Land due to the violations of the Law.  While you were being faithful a Jew, along came a man named Jesus.  Surprisingly, He emphatically stated that if you believed in Him, then you also believed in the God who sent Him.  If you looked upon Him, he said, then you have seen this very God of your people.  Shocking, huh?

    Jesus spoke on the authority given him by His Father.  The people who praised God for bringing salvation to Israel in the Psalms and confessed their sins to God were now able to see this God face to face.  The covenant-keeping God did something new, revealing Himself in the person of Jesus.  Through the death and resurrection of Christ, the evils of death were defanged and the problems of Genesis 3 were confronted.

    For those in Christ, we can boldly assert that Jesus became our high priest, being merciful to his people through the propitiation and atonement for our sins.  It removed  God Himself took on the consequences for sin on the cross.  God Himself made the sacrifice for the people of God.  Jesus was both the priest and lamb who took away our sins.  Therefore, we should break forth in a rejoicing song, for God Himself brought salvation for His people.  God has paid our debt, now might we walk in grace and gratitude for Jesus is a merciful and faithful High Priest, taking away our sins.