Back in Hebrews 6:20, the writer described Jesus as our “forerunner.” He went where we never could have gone on our own. And in the process, he opened the way for us to go there, too.
The place Jesus went was directly into the presence of God. When Jesus went to the cross, he destroyed all the various barriers that blocked our access to God. No longer is there an inner and outer court to the temple and places where we are barred from going. No longer is it just priests who are able to come near to God, and only the high priest once a year.
No, now we all can enter God’s presence with confidence. Jesus paved the way. He is our forerunner.
Do you acknowledge this fact in your own spiritual life? Do you think about this as you pray?
As a church, we believe Jesus died on the cross for our sins, removing the barrier of guilt and shame and rebellion that kept us out of God’s presence. We understand that his blood atoned for our sins.
And now we have access to God. In a sense, we are all priests. The writer of Hebrews didn’t say this explicitly, but Peter did (1 Peter 2:9-10). We are a “holy nation,” Peter wrote.
We ought not to take this for granted. This was not something we did on our own. This was the work of Jesus Christ – and only Jesus Christ.
We’re having a potluck lunch at church tomorrow. Inevitably, someone will look to me to say the prayer before the meal. This is the “priestly” service the pastor needs to render on behalf of the church and before God – the blessing of the meal.
The writer of Hebrews, I think, would say this: “You can do it, too!” The old walls are broken down – the division between priests and laypeople is just as obliterated as the divisions of sacred space in the temple.
We ought to thank Jesus Christ for that.