Thursday, December 30, 2021
First Day of the Fast of Nativity
 For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens.
 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all when he offered up himself.
 Indeed, the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect for ever.
 Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven,
 a minister in the sanctuary and the true tent which is set up not by man but by the Lord.
 For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; hence it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer.
 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law.
 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary; for when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.”
 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry which is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.
 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion for a second.
 For he finds fault with them when he says:
“The days will come, says the Lord,
when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah;
 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers
on the day when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of the land of Egypt;
for they did not continue in my covenant,
and so I paid no heed to them, says the Lord.
 This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, says the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
 And they shall not teach every one his fellow
or every one his brother, saying, `Know the Lord,’
for all shall know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
and I will remember their sins no more.”
 In speaking of a new covenant he treats the first as obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
 One day, as he was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up
 and said to him, “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.”
 He answered them, “I also will ask you a question; now tell me,
 Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men?”
 And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, `From heaven,’ he will say, `Why did you not believe him?’
 But if we say, `From men,’ all the people will stone us; for they are convinced that John was a prophet.”
 So they answered that they did not know whence it was.
 And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America