Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith. (Heb. 10:22)
OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW
THE AUTHOR OF HEBREWS connected Jesus’ sacrifice to the priestly rituals the Jews were more than familiar with. But he didn’t just connect them; he explained how Jesus’ sacrifice fulfilled those rituals.
Old Testament (OT): No access to God’s presence, which was in the Holy of Holies, behind a thick curtain. New Testament (NT): Direct access to God’s presence (the most holy place) through Jesus’ body (torn just as the curtain was torn).
OT: Only through priestly rituals could someone be declared clean and forgiven. NT: Only through Jesus (the great priest) can anyone be declared clean and forgiven.
OT: Blood from the animal sacrifice was sprinkled as a part of the ritual that cleansed sin. NT: Jesus’ blood has the ultimate cleansing effect on our hearts to cleanse us from sin and guilt.
OT: The high priest washed himself in clean water repeatedly. NT: The water of baptism symbolizes our purity once and for all.
Unlike the priestly rituals of the Old Testament, which had to be performed over and over again with each new sin, Jesus’ sacrifice is the ultimate and final sacrifice for all people and all time. Jesus has revolutionized the system for forgiveness and for entering God’s presence. But He didn’t change everything up just so He could rock the boat. He sacrificed everything so that we would have a new confidence, compelling us to become more intimate with Him (v. 22).
Take hold of the confidence available through His sacrifice in order to draw nearer to Him.
Andrea Summers is an ordained minister and has served on staff in her local church for five years. She is the director of Women’s Ministry for The Wesleyan Church.