Apr 7, 2022 Devotional Bible Study

April 7, 2022
Lent

Today’s Readings: 

  1. MORNING: Psalm 31:9-16, I commend my spirit
  2. MIDDAY: Isaiah 53:7-12, The suffering one bears the sin of many
    • Lesson: Christ is the Lamb of God
  3. EVENING: Hebrews 2:1-18, Jesus’ suffering binds him to humankind
    • Lesson: Like us in His human nature

Invitatory

The Lord is full of compassion and mercy: Come let us adore him.

Opening Prayer

Gracious God and most merciful Father, you have granted us the rich and precious jewel of your holy Word: Assist us with your Spirit, that the same Word may be written in our hearts to our everlasting comfort, to reform us, to renew us according to your own image, to build us up and edify us into the perfect dwelling place of your Christ, sanctifying and increasing in us all heavenly virtues; grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen. [1]

The Hymn

Father of mercies infinite 

Ruling all things that be, 

Who shrouded in the depth and height 

Are One, and yet are Three: 

Accept our words, accept our tears, 

A mingled stream we pour; 

Such stream the laden bosom cheers 

To taste Your sweetness more. 

Most holy Father hear my cry 

Through Jesus Christ the Lord Most High, 

Who with the Holy Ghost and Thee 

Shall live and reign eternally. [2]


Morning Prayer

May God the Father bless me, God the Son heal me, God.the Holy Spirit give me strength. May God the holy and undivided Trinity guard my body, save my soul, and bring me safely to his heavenly country; where he lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen. 

-adapted from the Book of Common Prayer [3]

Short Verse

But if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will surely live; they will not die.

Ezekiel 18:21

Morning Reading

Psalm 31:9-16, I commend my spirit

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;

my eye wastes away from grief,

my soul and body also.

For my life is spent with sorrow,

and my years with sighing;

my strength fails because of my misery,

and my bones waste away.

I am the scorn of all my adversaries,

a horror to my neighbors,

an object of dread to my acquaintances;

those who see me in the street flee from me.

I have passed out of mind like one who is dead;

I have become like a broken vessel.

For I hear the whispering of many—

terror all around!—

as they scheme together against me,

as they plot to take my life.

But I trust in you, O Lord;

I say, “You are my God.”

My times are in your hand;

deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.

Let your face shine upon your servant;

save me in your steadfast love.


Midday Prayer

Lord Jesus, Master Carpenter of Nazareth, on the Cross through wood and nails you wrought our full salvation: Wield well your tools in this, your workshop, that we who come to you rough-hewn may be fashioned into a truer beauty by your hand; who with the Father and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, world without end. Amen. [4]

Short Verse

Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

Matthew 11:21

Mosaic vault showing the Lamb of God, the Patriarchs and the Prophets, above the Main Altar of the Florence Baptistery, Italy. 13th and 14th centuries.

Midday Reading

Isaiah 53:7-12, The suffering one bears the sin of many

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,

    yet he did not open his mouth;

like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,

    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,

    so he did not open his mouth.

By a perversion of justice he was taken away.

    Who could have imagined his future?

For he was cut off from the land of the living,

    stricken for the transgression of my people.

They made his grave with the wicked

    and his tomb[a] with the rich,[b]

although he had done no violence,

    and there was no deceit in his mouth.

10 

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain.[c]

When you make his life an offering for sin,[d]

    he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days;

through him the will of the Lord shall prosper.

11 

    Out of his anguish he shall see light;[e]

he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge.

    The righteous one,[f] my servant, shall make many righteous,

    and he shall bear their iniquities.

12 

Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great,

    and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;

because he poured out himself to death,

    and was numbered with the transgressors;

yet he bore the sin of many,

    and made intercession for the transgressors.

Midday Lesson

Christ is the Lamb of God

“Like a lamb led to the slaughter, Christ endured his Passion largely in silence, obediently accepting his Father’s plan for the ransom of humanity from the bondage of sin and death. Prefigured by the Passover lamb, Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. The Book of Revelation describes the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, which signifies Christ’s union with his Bride the Church, obtained by his redemptive Sacrifice.” [5]


Eventide Prayer

Almighty God, we give you thanks for surrounding us, as daylight fades, with the brightness of the vesper light; and we implore you of your great mercy that, as you enfold us with the radiance of this light, so you would shine into our hearts the brightness of your Holy Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [6]

Short Verse

“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”

Isaiah 43:25

Eventide Reading

Hebrews 2:1-18, Jesus’ suffering binds him to humankind

1 Therefore we must pay greater attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. 2 For if the message declared through angels was valid, and every transgression or disobedience received a just penalty, 3 how can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? It was declared at first through the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him, 4 while God added his testimony by signs and wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, distributed according to his will.

Exaltation through Abasement

5 Now God[a] did not subject the coming world, about which we are speaking, to angels. 6 But someone has testified somewhere,

“What are human beings that you are mindful of them,[b]

    or mortals, that you care for them?[c]

You have made them for a little while lower[d] than the angels;

    you have crowned them with glory and honor,[e]

    subjecting all things under their feet.”

Now in subjecting all things to them, God[f] left nothing outside their control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to them, 9 but we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower[g] than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God[h] he might taste death for everyone.

10 It was fitting that God,[i] for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father.[j] For this reason Jesus[k] is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters,[l] 12 saying,

“I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters,[m]

    in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.”

13 And again,

“I will put my trust in him.”

And again,

“Here am I and the children whom God has given me.”

14 Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters[n] in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Eventide Lesson

Like us in His human nature

In verses 1-4, we find “an admonition against willful negligence and carelessness by a slow process, a drift (v. 1), of attrition. If (v. 2) and how (v. 3) suggest a conditional statement or question. If Israel was expected to obey the words of created angels or suffer punishment, how much more must we heed what God Incarnate has said through His apostles—especially when the word has been confirmed (v. 3) by many miracles (v. 4) of the Spirit, proof that the Kingdom has come upon us? When we ask in the liturgy for “pardon and remission of our sins and transgressions” and a ‘good defense before the dread judgment seat of Christ,’ we affirm there is a just reward (v. 2) or retribution, a very real judgment.” [7]

“The Jews expected the Messiah to be an earthly, conquering king- a political success story, not a failure. They would naturally ask, if Jesus is superior to the angels–indeed, a divine Being, as portrayed in ch. 1– why did He die, especially in such a degrading way? Hebrews answers that Christ’s humiliation is only temporary (v. 9), it is the only means of redeeming mortal man (vv. 14-16), and it reestablishes man’s God-intended dominion over all creation, including the angels (vv. 5-8).” [8]

Re-read verses 6-8. Therein, “Hebrews applies the discussion in Ps 8 about man to Jesus Christ, the perfect man.” [9]

Made a little lower than the angels [v. 9] refers to the Incarnation, the Son becoming Man. Christ’s suffering and death have highly exalted Him. The Cross, which should have brought shame and reproach, has brought Christ glory and honor. All of this is not something God has owed to man; it is by the grace of God, His gift. Taste death means to experience it fully, to know it intimately. Christ’s death was a real death. He died for everyone, for the whole world, not for the faithful only.” [10]

“To make … perfect through sufferings [v. 10] does not suggest there was imperfection in Christ before the cross. Rather He voluntarily took on human nature (all of one nature, v. 11), which can be saved and perfected only by the suffering of death. Christ is the pioneering captain of the narrow path to God in His suffering for sin, death, descent into hell, Resurrection, and Ascension. In salvation we take on Christ’s way of sufferings. Our perfection requires a growth that is manifested in suffering.” [11]

“In the Incarnation, God did not come in appearance only; He truly assumed flesh and blood from the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and became the same as we are so that He could truly enter death and bring us salvation. Christ destroyed the devil’s power by using the devil’s strongest weapon- death itself.” [12]

“There is a relationship between sin and death: each one leads to the other. Sin causes death, and the fear of death leads one to sin and thus to bondage (Rom 5:12). Christ sets us free from this bondage of sin and death.” [13]

“In all things He had to be made like His brethren- Christ was even tempted for what is not assumed is not healed, and what is united to God is saved. The Son is like us in His human nature; we do not become like Him in His divine nature. Hebrews moves without transition from Christ as sacrifice to Christ as High Priest, for He is the Offering and Offerer. He is merciful in behalf of those He serves and faithful in His ministry to God.” [14]

Concluding Prayer of the Church

Father, in your mercy dispel the darkness of this night, and let your servant sleep in peace, that at the dawn of a new day I may wake with joy in your Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen. [15]


Citations:

[1] http://bcp2019.anglicanchurch.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/56-Occasional-Prayers.docx

[2] Tickle, P. (2000). March. In The divine hours: Prayers for Springtime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 233). New York, NY: Image Books.

[3] Episcopal Church. (1979). The Ministration of the Sick. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 460). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[4] http://bcp2019.anglicanchurch.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/56-Occasional-Prayers.docx

[5] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Isaiah. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 1969). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[6] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office, Rite II. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 110). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[7] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Hebrews. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1686). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[8] Ibid. 7

[9] Ibid. 7

[10] Ibid. 7

[11] Ibid. 7

[12] Ibid. 7

[13] Ibid. 7

[14] Ibid. 7

[15] http://bcp2019.anglicanchurch.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/56-Occasional-Prayers.docx

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