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Jesus and the Centurion

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In Mark’s gospel, only at his death did a Roman centurion who was present at his execution recognize who Jesus was  –  Mark 10:45 .  In  Mark , all men prove incapable of recognizing who Jesus is, even his closest disciples. The only exceptions are John the Baptist and the Roman centurion at Golgotha, the very man in charge of the execution squad. Mark has threaded this theme throughout his gospel to make the point – The Messiah cannot be understood apart from his death on a Roman cross - [ Calvary - Photo by Sangia on Unsplash ] .

Kingdom Servants and Slaves

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To be a citizen of the kingdom requires a life of self-sacrificial service for others, and not power over them   –   Mark 10:35-45 .  The New Testament teaches that Christians are a “ kingdom of priests .” As citizens of this realm, we rule with Jesus both now and in the “ age to come .” But such a high calling raises the obvious question:    How do we participate in his reign? Fortunately, both Jesus and Paul provided down-to-earth explanations of how we are to implement his sovereignty on the earth - [ Photo by  Elaine Casap  on Unsplash ].

Fully Qualified High Priest

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Jesus qualified as our high priest by participating fully in human sufferings, mortality, and death   -   Hebrews 2:5-18 .  The priesthood of Jesus is one of the key subjects of the epistle to the  Hebrews  - He has become the “ merciful and faithful high priest ” for “ his brethren .” The topic is anticipated in the opening paragraph of the letter, including the uniqueness of his priesthood. Unlike the Aaronic priests, the “ Son achieved purification of sins ,” then “ sat down ” in the “ real ” Tabernacle - [ Photo by Krisztina Papp on Unsplash ].

Priestly Kingdom

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Disciples reign with Jesus by fulfilling their role as “priests” who render divine service to God and mediate His light to the world .  At Mount Sinai, Yahweh summoned Israel to become a “ kingdom of priests, a holy nation .” If she kept His covenant, the nation would become “ my own possession… for all the earth is mine .” God never intended for His people to be a community isolated from the rest of humanity. Instead, Israel was to reflect His light in a world darkened by sin - [ Photo by  Kate Remmer  on Unsplash ].

I Came to be in Spirit

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Four different times in Revelation, John found himself “in the Spirit” and transported to a new location where he received another vision .  In the fourth chapter of  Revelation , John “ came to be in the spirit , where he was summoned to heaven to see a vision about the “ throne ,” the “ sealed scroll ,” and the “ slain Lamb .” Previously, in his first vision, he came to be “ in the spirit ” and saw a vision of “ one like a son of man ” standing among the “ seven golden lampstands ,” that is, the “ seven churches of Asia .” - [ Photo by Frank Zinsli on Unsplash ].

Church, the Sanctuary of God

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The Apostle Paul consistently applies Temple language metaphorically to the church of Jesus Christ .  In his letters, Paul referred to the church as the “ sanctuary of God ,” and he applied related terms to the saints that were applied first to the Tabernacle and Temple in the Hebrew Bible. While the language is metaphorical, it describes new realities that have resulted from the death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus - [ Photo by Evgeni Tcherkasski on Unsplash ].