April 19, 2012

Keeping a 24/7 appointment

Easter came and went with great busyness and scarcely time to think about it. Today, God reminds me that this is the most important event in history. I need to think about it and the implications of it, not only on that special day, but every day as I walk with Him. 

When Jesus died on the cross, the world shuddered. In that awful moment, came the first sign of the significance of what was happening. Prior to this, no one could enter the most Holy place in the temple except the High Priest and then only once a year. This Holy place was divided from the rest of the temple by a curtain, blocking even a glimpse of the mercy seat from ordinary people, sinners like me. Yet as Jesus gave up His spirit, God declared the way in was now open.
And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. (Matthew 27:51)
As His followers would learn, this awesome event meant many things, such as the putting away of the old law of ordinances. When Jesus died, the sacrifices were all finished, because He became the ultimate sacrifice. All were fulfilled in him as this visible symbol of the barrier between God and us was removed.

This tearing of the curtain also revealed all the hidden things of the old covenant. The mercy-seat became visible to all and the Lord’s glory shone forth as the death of Jesus opened to us a clear revelation of God. No longer do we have the idea of Moses who “put a veil over his face” but “life and immortality were brought to light.” Things hidden since the foundation of the world were made manifest in the Son who “is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.” (Hebrews 1:3) 

The annual ceremony of atonement was thus abolished. The atoning blood which was once every year sprinkled in the place behind this curtain was now offered once for all by the great High Priest. No blood of bulls or lambs is needed, for Jesus entered the Holy Place with his own blood. Our debt is paid; it is finished!

This means that access to God is now permitted! It is the privilege of every believer in Christ Jesus. This isn’t about a tiny peek at the mercy-seat either, for that tear reached from the top to the bottom. Access to God is wide open.
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, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19–22)
This is the miracle of Easter, that God who became a man, gave people who are sinners access to Himself. In the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I can walk right up to the CEO of the universe and talk with Him any time I need to (which is all the time) without fear or guilt or the barrier of sin. Jesus died for me, Jesus lives for me, and Jesus opened the way to God for me. My sin is forgiven and He has the keys of heaven; what He opens, no one can shut. 

Lord, thank You for giving Your people access to the very throne of God. Forgive me for the times that I’ve taken prayer for granted. This is a high privilege that You won for me by Your blood. What folly to neglect to pray or take time to sit at Your feet. May I always remember that I’ve a 24/7 appointment with You.

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