Scripture: Hebrews 10:16-25


Service of Darkness

“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds,” he also adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. Therefore, my friends, since we have the confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. [NRSA]


Good evening, dear brothers and sisters in Christ. As we gather tonight for our Tenebrae worship service, we are reminded of the darkness that shrouded the world on that first Good Friday. On this solemn occasion, we come together to remember and meditate on the great sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, who willingly gave His life for us, to bring us into a new covenant with God.


In these powerful verses, the writer of Hebrews speaks of the new covenant that God has made with His people, a covenant sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ. As we reflect on the darkness that surrounded Jesus’ crucifixion, let us also remember the hope and light that He brought into the world.


First, let us consider the promise of the new covenant. The writer quotes the prophet Jeremiah, who foretold of a time when God would put His laws in the hearts and minds of His people, and He would remember their sins no more. This is a covenant of grace and forgiveness, established by Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross.


We must never forget the depth of God’s love for us, a love that is so profound that He would send His Son to die for our sins. In the midst of the darkness, we are called to hold fast to this truth, and to trust in the power of God’s grace.


Secondly, let us recognize the power of the blood of Jesus to cleanse us from our sins. The writer of Hebrews says that, “we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Through His sacrifice, Jesus has opened a new and living way for us to approach God, allowing us to draw near to Him with confidence.


As we remember the darkness that surrounded the cross, let us also remember the light that came from it. In the midst of our own struggles and darkness, let us hold fast to our faith in Jesus, trusting in His power to cleanse us and make us whole.

Thirdly, let us be encouraged by the exhortation to persevere in faith and hope. The writer of Hebrews urges us to “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” As we journey through the darkness of this world, let us remember that Jesus is our light, our hope, and our strength. Lord, let our actions and thoughts be driven by your sight and direction.


Finally, let us be encouraging one another on despite the darkness that surrounds us. The news of this world and this season we are living is filled with stumbling blocks, impossibilities, and fear of all sizes. We are empowered through Christ to live as beacons of possibility. We are strengthened through the Holy Spirit to give sight to those who live in darkness.


As we gather on this Good Friday, let us remember the darkness that shrouded the world at the crucifixion of our Lord. But let us also remember the hope and light that He brought to us through His sacrifice. In the midst of our own darkness, let us draw near to God with confidence, holding fast to our faith and encouraging one another in love.


Let us pray: Heavenly Father, we come before You today, remembering the great sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross. We are humbled and grateful for the love and grace You have shown us through His death and resurrection. Help us, Lord, to hold fast to our faith in You, to draw near to You with confidence, and to encourage one another in love and good deeds. Even in darkness, we seek the light of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us.


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