Monday, April 10, 2017
So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant. Hebrews 9:11-15(NLT)
There have been a number of times I’ve been glued to the TV or radio. In the Fall of 1955 I couldn’t walk home from school – I had to run because the World Series between the Yankees and Dodgers was being broadcast, and my team, those Brooklyn Bums, had a chance to win.
In 1961 we waited without breathing as Alan Shepherd became the first American in space. Two years later we mourned with a shocked nation as they carried the body of President Kennedy to Arlington Cemetery. Several years later my bride and I stayed up late, eyes glazed as we watched live coverage of the first moon landing. In 1981 I should have been studying my Greek lessons in seminary, but we were awed with the pomp and grandeur of Prince Charles and the lovely Princess Di getting hitched in London.
Everyone has those high-drama moments that will live in memory for a lifetime.
Here, on the first day of Holy Week, we’ve been trudging through six weeks of Lenten expectation in preparation for the event that stands immeasurably above any World Series, space launch, President’s funeral or state wedding; we are about to celebrate the Good News of the redemption of humankind by the blood of the Lamb.
The title picture of this devotion is the artist’s depiction of that moment when Christ, resurrected, returns to the Father in Heaven, and, by the power of the eternal Spirit, presents himself as the Lamb, crucified, buried, resurrected, and now glorified.
And He does it for our redeeming. He claims victory over sin and death before the host of Heaven, angels, humans and the Great throne. There has never been a greater moment in time for all humanity. It’s not an American victory, racial triumph, gender-level or any other kind of culmination to human struggle; it is simply (and magnificently) God’s love covering all of what went wrong with us fallen human beings.
Christ is now our High Priest, and the mediator of a new covenant with God; God is now approachable through Jesus, because Christ’s blood cleanses our sinful hearts. And, in the bargain, the cleansing of soul is also the cleansing of conscience. There is no regret, only the memory of a once-for-all sacrifice and forgiveness to set-at-right that which was so wrong.
This is our inheritance as children of God, followers of Jesus Christ – freedom from the penalty and power of sin, able to worship our God in the beauty of holiness, and in spirit and truth; we even have the contemplation of one day, in the New Heaven, freedom from the presence of sin when the Father creates all things new!
As we get closer to celebrating the cross this Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the resurrection victory of Easter Sunday, keep the cost of your eternal redemption in mind: His pain then, is our joy now.
I Title image: By Wilhelm Hauschild (1827-1887) (www.pittstate.edu/engl/nichols/neuschcastle.jpg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons