The Weekly Word - A Devotion for the Week of April 26
Therefore, since we have confidence to enter the most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10: 19-22)
During Jesus’ time, the most holy place in the temple was the innermost chamber called the Holy of Holies. This inner sanctum was separated by a curtain to keep the general public and even most of the religious officials at a distance. Only the high priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, and only on one day during the year -- the Day of Atonement – during which time he performed a series of rituals to make atonement for and ask God for forgiveness on behalf of all the people of Israel.
When Jesus was crucified, the temple curtain was torn in two from top to bottom. For those who witnessed it and those who heard about it later, the tearing of the temple curtain was an incredible revelation, signifying that nothing would separate them from God’s presence ever again.
In tearing the curtain -- which represented the hundreds of laws and rituals the Israelites adhered to in an attempt to make themselves right before God -- God made a way for His people to be in communion with Him despite their sins and through absolutely no effort of their own.
In other words, we do nothing to earn the privilege of being in God’s presence; it is an undeserved gift given to us by God Himself.
More than 2,000 years have passed since the day the temple curtain was torn in two as Jesus hung on the cross. Along the way, the story has become familiar; its ability to evoke awe and amazement has been diminished. Unlike the early Christians, we are no longer stunned by the enormity of God’s gift of Himself. Instead, we often take it for granted; we hardly give it a second thought.
Today, let us take a few minutes to contemplate the precious gift God has given us. Through His Son’s death on the cross, we are invited to connect with God personally and intimately. We can come to God with our deepest secrets and regrets, our most piercing sorrows, our most embarrassing failures. We can come to him with our dreams, our needs, our joy, our gratitude and our desires. We can come to God as our very best selves or our very worse selves, and either way, He will embrace us with open arms.
We have a standing open invitation through Jesus to be with God. Let us draw ever nearer to Him in thanks and praise.
Gracious God, I am humbled by and grateful for Your desire to be with me in every facet of my life. Thank You for opening the way for me to be with You always and forever. Amen.