Friday 25 April, 2014

Hebrews 9:11-22

11 Christ came to be the high priest of the good things that are already here. When he came, he went through the greater and more perfect holy tent. The tent was not made by people. In other words, it is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by spilling the blood of goats and calves. He entered the Most Holy Room by spilling his own blood. He did it once and for all time. He paid the price to set us free from sin forever. 13 The blood of goats and bulls is sprinkled on people. So are the ashes of a young cow. They are sprinkled on people the Law called unclean. The people are sprinkled to make them holy. That makes them clean on the outside. 14 But Christ offered himself to God without any flaw. He did this through the power of the eternal Holy Spirit. So how much more will his blood wash from our minds our feelings of guilt for committing sin! Sin always leads to death. But now we can serve the living God. 15 That’s why Christ is the go-between of a new covenant. Now those God calls to himself will receive the eternal gift he promised. They will receive it now that Christ has died to save them. He died to set them free from the sins they committed under the first covenant. 16 What happens in the case of a will? It is necessary to prove that the person who made the will has died. 17 A will is in effect only when somebody has died. It never takes effect while the one who made it is still living. 18 That’s why even the first covenant was not put into effect without the spilling of blood. 19 Moses first announced every commandment of the law to all the people. Then he took the blood of calves. He also took water, bright red wool and branches of a hyssop plant. He sprinkled the scroll. He also sprinkled all of the people. 20 He said, “This is the blood of the covenant God has commanded you to keep.” (Exodus 24:8) 21 In the same way, he sprinkled the holy tent with blood. He also sprinkled everything that was used in worship there. 22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be made clean with blood. Without the spilling of blood, no one can be forgiven.

The first sentence says that, “the Messiah has appeared, high priest of the good things that have come.” I am very familiar with the fact that Jesus is our high priest, but I don’t think I have really thought it through in detail.

Having recently been to Pompeii I can visualise the people of the first century AD worshipping the pantheon of Roman gods. The city was scattered with temples and people regularly sought the favour of the gods through offerings and sacrifices. The hope of these people was that the gods would bestow good things on them. Priests had an important role in this society, helping the people have access to the gods and the power and provision they believed the gods possessed.

Jesus is our high priest, He enables us to have access to the power and provision of the living God. He has supplied the necessary sacrifice Himself, such that we can have the good things of relationship with God, forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Every time we draw upon God’s strength, we offload our worries and burdens on Him, we cry out for His wisdom, we rest in His love and we trust in His provision, all of this is only possible because when Jesus went to God on our behalf and asked, “How much will this cost?” God replied, “They can’t afford it. But I will accept your payment in their place. Are you prepared to die for them?” Jesus agreed to pay that price.

God, please help me keep remembering the link between Jesus as our high priest, His sacrifice, and the good things that I daily enjoy that He purchased on the cross. Amen.

Written by Beth Waugh

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