Hebrews 10: 1-10
Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who approach. Otherwise, would they not have ceased being offered, since the worshipers, cleansed once for all, would no longer have any consciousness of sin? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin year after year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body you have prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘See, God, I have come to do your will, O God’
(in the scroll of the book it is written of me).”
When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “See, I have come to do your will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Psalm 40: 2, 4ab, 7-8a, 10, 11
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Sacrifice and offering you do not desire,
but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt offering and sin offering
you have not required.
Then I said, “Here I am; I delight to do your will, O my God”
I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
see, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O Lord.
I have not hidden your saving help within my heart,
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.
Mark 3: 31-35
Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
When someone passes away, a common theme of conversation among loved ones is what what the deceased person would want. From funeral arrangements, to what is to be done with their possessions, to how they would desire their loved ones to live, conversations such as these are part of reflecting on who the person was and showing them love. They also remind us that to know what somebody wants indicates a closeness to that person and an understanding of who they were – their character, desires, hopes, and dreams.
The Scriptures today remind us that God desires that same closeness with His people. Jesus tells us in the Gospel today that to know and act on the will of God shows the same intimacy to Him as that of a family member who knows and understands what makes their loved ones tick. But how do we know God’s will? Sometimes, as Christians, we can desire to please God but can feel like knowing His will is a mystery, or is reserved for special people who never make any mistakes or can always hear God’s voice clearly. But let’s look again at the Gospel passage. Jesus looked at the crowd, unnamed people who were simply sitting around Him, and called them His family. They were doing the will of God just by being there and being open to learning from Him.
While Jesus does not walk among us physically anymore, we can still do His will by coming close to Him each day. We do this by spending time in His presence, by learning about Him by filling our minds with His Word, by continually examining our conscience and by inviting Him into every moment of our lives and allowing Him to direct our thoughts and our choices. This will take a lifetime of practice and we will never do it perfectly, but the Lord promises His grace and His help where our human weakness fails.
Take some moments today to place yourself in the presence of God, like the crowd gathered around Jesus in the Gospel. Lay your life before Him and ask for the Mind of Christ as you go through your day, so that you may truly know and do His will as His brother or sister.