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Our High Priest

A Lent Reflection for Tuesday, March 5 by Seanna Wong


Lectionary reading for 03/05/2024: Psalm 84; 2 Chronicles 29:1-11, 16-19; Hebrews 9:23-28

Selected passage for reflection: Hebrews 9:23-28


Read

Hebrews 9:23-28 NIV

"23 It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. 25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him."


Reflect 

I believe God designs us with the innate desire to right our wrongs, wanting to rid ourselves of the clawing, itchy, and uncomfortable burden of guilt in replacement for the freedom of forgiveness. 


A mistake at work moves us to stay overtime and proceed with a heightened sense of caution in the future. Unintentionally bruising the feelings of another compels us to apologize and offer amends. A word spoken hastily in anger forbids us to sleep, nudging us towards an opportunity to reconcile. All threads and beautiful stitchwork in God's design for a soft heart. In this way, we work at forgiveness, atonement, and relationship with one another. 


However, this framework does not apply to our relationship with sin and with Christ. We can't simply right our wrongs with God through our actions - working for our bread, butter, and forgiveness. We have a responsibility in our relationship with Christ, but it is not a performative one built on "showing our sorry" in good deeds or over-the-top sacrifices. Instead, Hebrews 9:23-28 shows us that there is only one who aptly and sufficiently atones for our mistakes, trespasses, and debts - that of Christ Jesus.


Throughout our passage, the Mosaic, or Old Covenant, of the Old Testament is contrasted to the New Covenant made by the mercy of God and the blood of Jesus' sacrifice.The Mosaic Covenant hinged on our ineligibility to enter into holy spaces filled with the presence of God. Forgiveness required animal sacrifices, specific rites of atonement, and the liaison of a high priest - the only one who could go behind the veil and into the Holy of Holies to communicate with God. However, the New Covenant shines with more of God's mercy as Christ takes the place of high priest. He who need not enter ephemeral temples that fade but enter into Heavenly realms on our account. He who is not required to beg for our forgiveness or suffer crucifixion each time we sin but whose blood covers and washes away all iniquity with supernatural power.


At Jesus' crucifixion, the veil to the Holy of Holies was torn, giving us free access to God. 

This New Covenant frees us from ritual and allows us a relationship with God.


In our text's closing verses, we have the safeguard and promise of how it all inevitably ends. We read that the culmination of our time on earth will indeed come and that that fact is a part of our design. Likewise, Christ's design is to have lived, died, live again, and return to us expectantly awaiting Him. His second return is not for the atonement of our sins but to comfort and rescue our anticipating hearts, now softened, mended, and accepting of his sacrifice. 


Hebrews 9:23-28 is a love letter from groom to church bride. One penned to wipe away the tears and shame of yesterday in remembrance that His blood shed on Calvary still works and will never lose its power. 


Respond 

Have you caught yourself working for the forgiveness of God? 

Relying on others as your liaison because you feel unfit to enter into His presence?

On the cross, Jesus declared, It is finished. He has accomplished all the work of your salvation, your justification, and your place in His Kingdom. Now, this High Priest, above all others, seeks your friendship. Rest assured that you are made enough by The One who loves you, died for you, and seeks a relationship with you.


Rest 

Lord, 

We come burdened by sin and shortcomings. 

With hands trying to fix messes that we and others have made, tiring ourselves in the process.

We come empty, Lord. And even so, we come before you knowing, declaring, and believing that you, our High Priest, have been sent to cover every debt, sin, and trespass in your blood. Grow in us the ability to lay our burdens at your feets. Settle our hearts in the truth that is it finished - that under your sacrifice we are covered. Deepen our relationship with, oh God. 

Thank you, Lord, for your mercy and kindness, provision and love. 


In Jesus' name, Amen 


About the Author 


Seanna Wong is an MBA graduate from Miami, Florida.

When she’s not reading, leading worship, or cooking for her friends, family, or food vlog, she’s writing on Christian life and restaurant hopping in the city. 


You can read more of Seanna’s work here: https://medium.com/@seannawrites.

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