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July 18, 2011 / Daniel

Hebrews 10, Access and Representation

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

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In Hebrews 10:19-25, the author challenges us to persevere in the Christian faith.  Keep believing in Christ.  Finish the race that has been set before you (12:1).   The author gives us two reasons to finish the race.  Both are marked by the word “since.”

1)  Jesus gives us access to God. 

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh… (Heb. 10:19-20 ESV)

Jesus gives us confidence.  His sacrifice on the cross provides us a way to enter into God’s presence.  In the OT, God’s presence resided in the Holy of Holies in the Temple.   In the Israelite worldview, the Holy of Holies was the place where heaven and earth collided.  When you stepped into the Holy of Holies, you had stepped into the very place where heaven was on earth.   This was the throne room of God.

That’s why the OT Law made it so difficult for people to enter into the Holy of Holies.   This was sacred turf.  Sin cannot be in God’s presence.   But when Jesus died on the cross for us, his death makes us acceptable before God.  The unclean is made clean.  By his blood, we can enter into God’s presence.   We have access to God.

2) Jesus represents us before God. 

“And since we have a great priest over the house of God…” (Heb 10:21 ESV)

Jesus  is our great high priest.    The OT job description for a priest was multi-faceted.  However, his main responsibility was to represent the people of Israel before God’s throne in the temple.  He offered sacrifices in temple.  Sacrifices for sin.  Sacrifices as peace offerings.   He was a mediator between God and Israel.   The go-between.

Jesus is the ultimate mediator between God and man.  He is the God-man.  Fully God.  Fully man.  So how can you get a better high priest?  He knows what it’s like to be a human being.   He knows what temptation is.  He knows how hard life can be, because he’s been there before.  He is our representative before God.

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