In the first chapters of this letter, the writer of Hebrews builds a strong case to demonstrate that Jesus is the eternal High Priest that has made the atoning sacrifice for sin, once and for all. Remember, in the Old Testament, the only way the people of Israel could be in right standing before God was to offer regular blood sacrifices. These sacrifices could only be made by the priests themselves. And then, only one day a year, the High Priest was allowed to enter into the Holy of Holies in order to make a blood sacrifice for the sins of the whole nation. Now a new priest has come and has made it possible for all of us to enter into the “Holy of Holies” on our own, without a human priest.
What makes the promise of Jesus’ saving work a promise that we can count on? (vv. 13-17)
What affect should this promise have in our hearts? (v. 18)
What metaphor is used to describe this hope? (vv. 19-20)
Spend some time meditating on this metaphor. In what ways can it relate to your current situation?
Food for thought:
In his book Aqua Church, Leonard Sweet has described our current culture as being like a ship at sea. We are caught in a storm and the wind and waves are blowing at us full force. With the cover of clouds and the rising and falling of the waves, we have begun to lose our bearings and feel that we are truly adrift, at the mercy of the sea.
Do you ever feel that way? Do you feel that the world around you and the world inside you are out of control? How can you keep up with everything that swirls around you? You have bills to pay, relationships (fragile as they are) to maintain, images to preserve, deadlines to meet, children to raise. Then, when you perhaps have a moment to sit in a quiet spot and think a deep thought, you become overwhelmed by the amount of information that is available to you. There are billions of people in the world, scurrying around like so many ants, all trying to get something done. It can feel overwhelming, like a crashing of waves and a blowing of the wind.
Is there hope? Yes. Look at the picture attached to today’s devotional. Beneath the surface of this chaotic world, there is a place of peace and stability. That place is the very heart of God. In the Old Testament that place was symbolized in the Holy of Holies. Few people were able to find it. But now, because of the grace of God, Jesus has made it possible for us to go deep sea diving into the peace of the presence of God. Not only has He made it possible, He has anchored us into the presence of God. So now, while our souls are rocking and shifting in the maelstrom of modern existence, we can rest assured that we, through Jesus, are firmly anchored in the heart of God. The Greek word translated “firmly” has the connotation of the root system of a tree. Our souls are deeply rooted, firmly anchored in the presence of God.
Knowing that we are not at the mercy of the blowing wind, we can be encouraged and put our face into the wind. We have nothing to fear, no matter how strong the winds of change or conflict or persecution may blow, we can rest assured that our soul is eternally secure in the heart of God! Bring it on!