“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,”
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
If you’re a baseball fan, you would have loved growing up in my hometown. South Florida is spring training mecca for the majors and Bradenton is host to the Pittsburg Pirates. I remember going to McKechnie Field to watch them play a couple times. I would sit in the stands and watch these athletes that were larger than life. I had a friend that was a batboy for the team and I considered him one of the luckiest guys I knew. He got to go into the dugout and the clubhouse with the team. To have behind the rope access to guys that had won the world series, guys I had baseball cards of, blew my young adolescent mind. They didn’t give just anybody that kind of access, my friend was breathing rarified air.
So it was with the tabernacle and the presence of God. God purposely placed Himself in the middle of His people, but they were not to take that as an invitation to familiarity. There were three areas to the tabernacle – the outer court, the holy place, and the holy of holies. Each area was more exclusive than the next. Only the priests could enter from the courtyard to the holy place, and only the high priest could enter into the holy of holies once a year. As we discussed yesterday, after the Israelites settled into Jerusalem and the rest of the promised land, they built a more permanent but similarly patterned temple, and it was just as exclusive. These places of worship were a constant reminder to the Israelites that their God was present but set apart.
During Jesus’ earthly ministry, the standing temple was Herod’s or the 2nd temple. In rabbinical tradition, the entrance to the Courtyard was referred to as “the way,” the entrance to the holy place was called “the truth,” and as you might have guessed, the entrance to the holy of holies was called “the life.” So when Jesus was speaking to his disciples, and referring to Himself as the way, truth and life, He was describing access to the Father that had previously been unheard of. This radical claim was further corroborated when at the end of Jesus’ suffering on the cross, the huge curtain separating the holy of holies from the holy place tore in two from the top down. God was saying in a not so subtle way that the death of His Son had removed every barrier that had separated us from Him. Through Christ full access is available to anyone who would believe and step through the door.
While using the HEAR method (see below) consider the following questions:
- Where is the balance between being God’s friend and yet maintaining the proper reverence?
- How would living daily in conscious awareness of God’s holy presence change your present lifestyle and habits?*
Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you?
Explain – what does the passage mean?
Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today?
Respond – how is God leading you to respond?
Jon Price, Associate Pastor