Saturday, February 7, 2015

A Lord's Supper Devotional

Heb 10:19 Therefore, brothers,
     since we have(bold) confidence to enter the holy places
          by the blood of Jesus,
          20 by the new and living way
               that he opened for us through the curtain,
               that is, through his flesh,
     21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
22 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.

I so love the Book of Hebrews!

since we have(bold) confidence Before Christ came there was no confidence or boldness to enter into God’s presence. Humanity had no indwelling presence and only fear and loathing.
to enter the holy places  - If you went into the Lord’s presence and weren't permitted to, you could be struck dead. If you were a priest and you went at the wrong time, you could be struck dead. Why? Because of our sinful nature.
But now, by the blood of Jesus – Because the perfect Lamb of God, not a dumb lamb, goat or bull, shed his blood, the way is open. God wrath is assuaged.
And, 20 by the new and living way New as it is the New Covenant, and Living because none of the old sacrifices lived. Jesus alone rose from the dead!
he opened for us through the curtain,  that is his flesh – As the Veil separated the Holy from the Holiest, and blocked the approach of man to God, so the body of Christ veiled His divinity! Humans had no access through the veil except at God’s beck and call, and not without blood. But to grant access, through the Body of Christ, to God; Jesus gave up His life for us on the cross. Because the body was ‘broken’ and died, along with the blood shed, we have Boldness to enter. Both Body and blood are invoked here, just as in Christ’s last supper.
21 and since we have a great priest – The priest is the go-between, between God and Man. Priests are chosen by God, they're human, and they accept and perform the duties of priesthood.
So the writer is saying, Jesus is both Priest and the sacrifice!
And because of these things - 22 let us draw near – That is God’s Goal! To draw his bride near to Him. He paid a high price for it because He loves us so. And since He loves us He wants us to draw near. Not in some pretend Romantic play, but…
with a true heart – Not with the heart of wickedness and deceit, but a heart changed by the application of Christ’s character. This is done in counterpart to the application of His righteousness to our standing before God, when God conforms us to the image of Christ, and sanctifies us. Psa 51:6
in full assurance of faith – reminds us there is no righteousness, alluded to by “true heart”, without faith! Abraham believed and it was credited to him as righteousness. Without faith it is impossible to please God. So this faith, granted to us, is required, and it accompanies the true heart as we draw near.
with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience – Another allusion to Old Testament ritual is seen in the sprinkling. Blood of sacrifices was sprinkled on both items and people who were being consecrated to God. The evil conscience reminds us that our conscience and self-awareness includes evil and wickedness but also the misery of guilt and the results of sin. But the blood shed for us, and the sprinkling suggests it is applied to us, so that both wickedness and guilt are removed.
and our bodies washed with pure water – often considered an allusion to Christian baptism, it is another reference to ancient ritual, as when Aaron and his sons were bathed with water as a part of their purification as priests.
These sprinkling and washing references are most important to the passage precisely because they do invoke the picture of the sanctification of priests under the Old Covenant. Because in the New Covenant all God’s people are His Royal Priesthood. It is because of this that we all have access to God and may, in fact are called and commanded to, Draw Near!
So Draw near today. Draw Near in Worship, giving God praise for all He has done, for who He is and specifically for Jesus Christ opening the way for us to draw near.
Draw near in prayer, as we bare our hearts to Him and make our requests known.
Draw near in taking the Lord’s Supper as a reminder of His work, a reminder of our current salvation, and a reminder of His return , to once again draw us to Himself, only this time with eternal bodies to be with Him for ever and ever.

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