This is an extended post in preparation for Holy Week and Easter in “coffee with the Lord” today…
This morning I read Leviticus 16 about the exacting protocol that had to be followed in the Old Testament on the annual Day of Atonement to atone for the sins of the High Priest as well as the people of Israel. Every year they would go through this ritual carefully so that their sins could be forgiven and they would become acceptable to a holy God. As I read about it, I tried to imagine what all of this must have been like – extremely demanding, repetitive, tedious, (and I could go on). Then I thought about “the new and living way” that Jesus inaugurated when He became the sacrifice for our sin on the cross and fulfilled all that the “Day of Atonement” prefigured!! (You should read it for yourself!)
Hebrews 9 and 10 in your Bible, however, talks about what Jesus did for us…
”When these things were all in place, the priests regularly entered the Holy Place as they performed their religious duties. But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance… This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies—physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established. 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… For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.
“For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf. And he did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again, like the high priest here on earth who enters the Most Holy Place year after year with the blood of an animal. If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice… Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people.” (From Hebrews 9:6-28 NLT)
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can now boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. (Hebrews 10:19-22 NLT)
As we approach Holy Week (especially Good Friday and Easter) I just want to thank God personally (and urge you to do the same) for THE “NEW AND LIVING WAY” THAT JESUS OPENED UP FOR US “ONCE FOR ALL” when He offered up Himself for our sins on the cross! Now, because of the resurrection he “ever lives” to “intercede” on our behalf as “our Great High Priest!”