HURTING PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE

EMPATHY
Series:  Once and For All – a series based on the letter to the Hebrews
Rev. Alexis Johnson
October 17, 2021

The foundations guide provides a deeper look at the scripture and message from Sunday and is perfect for a personal devotional or small group discussion prompts.

Scripture: Hebrews 5:1-10

When your heart breaks it can grow back crooked.
It grows back twisted, and gnarled, and hard.

The Tale of Despereaux (2008)

A History of High Priests

A.  Sacrifice has always been a part of the worship given to God, beginning with Cain & Abel. The Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) did their own sacrificing.

B.  During Exodus, the tribe of Levi is established as being in charge of all aspects of Israelite worship
 -High Priests had to be descendants of Aaron, Moses’ brother

C.  Maccabean period sees the High Priests becoming more political

D.  Roman occupation meant the Romans picked the High Priest and did not care about family line. 
Herod the Great, ruler when Jesus was born, went through at least six High Priests  -Imagine what it means to only have power at the whim of a political figure known for killing his own family in jealous rages?

Jesus is a High Priest appointed by God 

 A.  Since he is in the tribe of Judah, He is equated with Melchizedek rather than Levi

B.  One of His qualities is the weeping and praying He did on earth
-Commentators talk mostly about Gethsemane – weeping, begging to not die, sweating blood (Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46; 
-He weeps for Lazarus even though He knows He’s going to raise him. (John 11:1-44) 
-Laments over Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37-24:2;   

C.  Even with all this pain, Jesus stays soft to the world – not weak, but living with empathy
-Evidenced by healing a person in the midst of His arrest (Luke 22:47-53)

We are Christ’s Body on Earth now. Which means:

A.  We are called to allow our hearts to be healed by God

B.  We are called to be soft towards the world and build bridges of empathy

C.  When we are living out of empathy we have something to offer the world needs

Many in the world, especially in the US, have been traumatized by religion. UMC has this to offer:

A.  We passionately worship AND we read our Bibles intelligently

B.  We engage in personal transformation AND social justice

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