Read Hebrews 9:11-28
What was your reaction to this reading? Did you take note of some of the gems of truth the Preacher is sharing with us. It’s easy to let these words just whiz on past. Remember that what Jesus did, he did for you! Jesus “secured our redemption forever.”
The old covenant was good for external purity. In the new covenant, Jesus cleanses us on the inside as well. We now live in freedom to encounter and experience God without exhausting ourselves trying to be perfect by following the law. Paying attention to God’s law is not a bad thing, but we don’t want to let our striving to be perfect consume us and distract us from the importance of a worshipful relationship with God. The laws we want to follow are those affirmed in the New Testament (not the ceremonial laws).
“[T]he blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God.” Think about all the ways we worship today. In addition to how we incorporate worship into our daily lives, we have churches where we can worship together. Churches come and go, some grow big, others stay small. We often put too much emphasis on the church building rather than the church “body” and what honoring God with our worship looks like.
We were involved in several church building projects over the years my husband was serving churches. We’ve seen how congregations get so caught up in what the building looks like that we forget the church is really made up of people. Whether your church meets in a barn, in a huge cathedral, or in the living room sitting around in a circle, God looks at our heart of worship. It does us good to remember there is no perfect man-made church. The Preacher reminds us of what is perfect. Jesus’ sacrifice for us and his community in heaven.
If you’re still unsure about what the new covenant means for you, the Preacher has you covered. Jesus mediates on our behalf with God “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.” You are set free!
We’ve come to understand the Preacher’s sermon in the book of Hebrews was originally written to help Jewish Christians understand the immensity of what had happened thanks to the blood of Jesus. He writes, “For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.” The new covenant came with a price. Jesus paid that price for you!
Jesus has gone on ahead to the Father. “He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf.” Jesus didn’t have to die over and over, just once. When I think of Jesus appearing before God on my behalf, my heart skips a beat. Can you even imagine the love he has for you?
Because of what Jesus has done for me, my desire is to live a life that pleases God, striving to be more and more like Jesus every day. To do that, I focus on having the heart of a servant, being ready and open to being used by God. Listening for God’s voice and direction can be difficult. Do you need to do a better job of being quiet and open to receive your guidance from God? Spending time in God’s word and in prayer are such key activities for accomplishing this.
Cling to the Preacher’s closing statement. “He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.” Are you eagerly awaiting the Savior’s return? How are you getting ready?
Let’s pray. Lord thank you for the blood you shed for me. May I never take for granted the great sacrifice you made for me. Because of you, I will be able to live forever with you in your kingdom. Until that day, may I do my best to serve you, to love like you love, and help others to know you more. Continue your work in me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.