Series:  Once and For All – based on the letter to the Hebrews
Rev. Alexis Johnson
October 24, 2021

Scripture: Hebrews 7:23-28 and Mark 2:1-12

History of Sacrifice

  • Realization that there is a God (or gods and goddesses) – results in the need to appease
  • In the OT, sacrifice is for purification, repentance, thanksgiving
  • The Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) did their own sacrifice. The Levitical Priesthood emerged at the time of Exodus and the creation of the Tabernacle, then continued to Temple
  • Melchizedek – “king of righteousness” that Abraham meets and he pre-figures other formal priesthood.
  • Christians believe Jesus fulfills all forms of sacrifice permanently. (Contemporary Jews believe prayer, reading Scripture, and other acts of righteousness serve a replacement of sacrifice. There seems to be a debate on restoring the Temple and Temple sacrifices someday.)

A twist on sacrifice

  • We don’t need to do anything to get into heaven or appease God, but!  Consider the four friends in Mark…it is their faith (and their effort) that allows the man on the mat to be healed by Jesus.
  • Consider the powerlessness of typical sacrifices – animals with no say, children under the guise of sacrificing something innocent – compared to the powerfulness of the sacrifice of Jesus.  Four crazy friends sacrificing their power, through effort, on behalf of the man on the mat
  • What if our call to sacrifice is on behalf of getting others TO Jesus?


  • Work of priests to get people’s sacrifice/worship to God
  • Our priestly work is to use our power to get people to Jesus through:  Prayers of the People in church; Offering resources to church for the work of ministry Personal Confession;  and commitment
  • I am BAD at praying for people in the moment. Why? Fear of judgement or shame or in a hurry?? It’s silly. I’m going to pray more, out loud, in that moment.
    What are we willing to do to get people to Jesus?

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