Today's Bible Reading: Hebrews 9
Selected Biblical Text
It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:23-28)
Reflecting and Thinking
The contrast between the first covenant with its regulations and the second covenant in which Jesus enters the perfect heavenly tabernacle is like the contrast between daylight and dark. Everything has changed. Everything is better. Consciences are cleansed. The promise is secured. The ransom is consistent with the reward. The copies could be purified with merely physical sacrifices, but not the real thing! Jesus has entered the very throne room of God, not to appear annually to deal with sin, but once and for all to do away with sin forever. He appears continually in God's presence FOR US. He came to this earth once to provide the eternal sin sacrifice; when he comes again it will be to claim those who eagerly await him. That is indeed good news!
How often do you think about the coming of Jesus with an attitude of eagerness? What obstacles are in your life that keep you from eager anticipation? Which ones can you begin to handle today? Which ones do you need to cast on God?
Heavenly Father, the beauty of Jesus' better sacrifice is overwhelming. It shines so brightly that all else pales. How incredible to think that you have given us insight into your nature and throne in such physical representations. Help us not to value the copy more than the original. Give us insight to see and believe, to worship, and to act. We pray for your help, in Jesus' name, Amen.