Tuesday 24 October 2017

Bible Book:
Hebrews

“For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one, but he entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” (v. 24)

Hebrews 9:15, 24-28 Tuesday 24 October 2017

Psalm: Psalm 107:17-32


Background

Jesus came face to face with God, entering heaven itself toappear before the Godhead.

This has all sorts of ramifications in Jewish history, forno-one sees the face of God and lives. The presence of God is sopowerful, and God's holiness in such contrast to the sinfulness ofhumanity, that God shields this from those seeking a revelation.The original readers would remember God's glory passing by Moses(Exodus 33), and the declaration that God is"merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfastlove and faithfulness" (Exodus34:6). They would remember that Elijah did not meet with God inthe thunder but in the stillness and silence that followed (1Kings 19).

The heroes of Jewish history never encountered God face to face;they saw glimpses of God, but never got to see God head-on, eye toeye. Jesus subsumes all the stories of the past, and encounters Godhaving entered the very realms of heaven. Jesus 'mediates' thisrelationship. It is through Jesus that humanity is invited toparticipate in the kingdom of God.

N T Wright suggests a further extension of Jesus' role asultimate high priest. On the Day of Atonement, the high priestwould exit the Holy of Holies, and proclaim the ritual complete.The priest would then go about ministering within the community.Wright notes "they would set about the world of dealing with theproblems that remained in the community, the practical outworkingof the ritual". In this passage, Jesus' final return will be one offinal completion: "When Jesus reappears … they will become thepeople God wants them to be as citizens of his new creation". Allthe work will be finished.


To Ponder

  • Where do you feel close to God? How does that affect yourdiscipleship?
  • What difference does it make to you that Jesus' sacrifice was aonce-for-all event?
  • What does the 'new creation' about which N T Wright speaks,look like for you?
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