Monday, September 06, 2010

The Most Holy Place

Hebrews 9:11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.

11 Χριστὸς δὲ παραγενόμενος ἀρχιερεὺς τῶν γενομένων ἀγαθῶν διὰ τῆς μείζονος καὶ τελειοτέρας σκηνῆς οὐ χειροποιήτου, τοῦτ᾽ ἔστιν οὐ ταύτης τῆς κτίσεως, 12  οὐδὲ δι᾽ αἵματος τράγων καὶ μόσχων διὰ δὲ τοῦ ἰδίου αἵματος εἰσῆλθεν ἐφάπαξ εἰς τὰ ἅγια αἰωνίαν λύτρωσιν εὑράμενος.

This is one of those passages that it is difficult to wrap our Gentile minds around.  This chapter contrasts the old sacrificial system with Jesus' perfect sacrifice for sins.  The Jews spent centuries with the ritual of a day of atonement where the high priest gave a sacrifice for his own sins and the sins of the people.  Then he could enter the Most Holy Place where they kept the Ark of the Covenant.  This was also the same day when the scapegoat was sent out into the wilderness for the shame of the people.

But when Jesus died on the cross the curtain in the temple was torn in two, from the top to the bottom.  God gave a clear sign to the people that everything had changed.  Now it was no longer to keep up the sacrificial system.  Through Christ's shed blood we have access to the Most Holy Place.  We can meet with God.

Lately I have been moved by how little I consider this privilege.  It's amazing how as people we tend to ignore really great gifts for a while.  I take time to periodically thank God for the fact that I live in a country where I can live pretty much however I want, that my family and I enjoy good health, that I have a good job, food on the table, etc.  But how often do I thank God for God?  Not nearly often enough.  This struck me yesterday morning as I was walking and praying.  Then again, I've been chatting with a friend who claims to be an atheist, so contrasting our worlds brought this to mind.

If you are in Christ this passage is an incredible promise of blessing.  Not in the sense of cars with rims falling from the sky, but in the sense that we get to come near to God.  Think on that for a while.

No comments: