8 Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being. 3 Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. 4 If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. 5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” 6 But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises. 7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.
Dressmakers use a paper pattern to make a dress, so that all the bits will go together in just the right way.
God gave Moses a pattern for the tabernacle, so that it could be built in just the right way. And the tabernacle was just a pattern for what exists in Heaven (Hebrews 9:23). It was full of a rich set of symbols to help us build the right concepts.
The priesthood and the system of sacrifices were a pattern to help us understand who Jesus is (the ultimate bridge builder between God and us) and what he did when he died (the ultimate sacrifice which really does cancel out my sin).
The pattern of sacrifice by the earthly priesthood is hopelessly inadequate at dealing with real sin and restoring relationship. (Like a paper dress pattern would be hopelessly inadequate to wear to a party.) But Jesus achieved what the law never could. (Romans 3:20)
God gave that pattern to help us to understand Jesus and what he did more than a thousand years ahead of time. That’s a long time.
But it seems to have taken that long to even begin to understand – enough to accept the gift he bought for us. Even with an eternity with Jesus in Heaven, I suspect I won’t be able to fully understand how great he is, the enormity of what he did, and the unfathomably huge love that caused him to do it. (Ephesians 3:18)
Jesus, I just stand in awe at even the little I know about who you are. I love what you did for me. I’m so glad that you and your love are so much greater than anything I can conceive. And yet you make yourself known to me. You make the way into relationship with you so easy, even I could receive it.
Written by David Cornell