The author of Hebrews labors throughout the letter to show the immense superiority of Jesus. A Ruth’s Chris steak is better than a hot dog. A Rembrandt is better than a flannel graph. The ocean is better than a baby pool. So Jesus is more excellent than the old covenant. He is our tabernacle, dwelling with us, and providing the way to fellowship with God. He is our faithful high priest who understands our every weakness and lives to intercede on our behalf. He is the perfect sacrifice that makes us holy forever.
After unpacking all of this, a transition comes in Hebrews 10:19. We find the word “therefore” which means consequently, as a result, or that being the case. In other words, it’s time to apply this to our lives. Hebrews 10:19; 22 says, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus…let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings…”
In the old tabernacle, only the high priest could enter the Most Holy Place once a year on the Day of Atonement. What a privilege to be chosen to enter behind the veil and stand before God! But think about the pressure. The priest had to follow the sacred protocol instituted by God from A to Z. I’m sure this felt like having to observe rigid table manners at an annual holiday dinner with a distant but wealthy and influential family member while sitting at the far end of a long table.
Again, this was just a hint of the better reality to come. It prepares our hearts to fully appreciate and enjoy the “most holy place” we now have. When Jesus shouted from the cross, “It is finished!” the veil of separation was torn top to bottom (Matthew 27:51). We are not only sons and daughters, but a holy priesthood with the privilege of direct access to God’s presence. Clothed in the righteousness of Jesus, we have twenty-four-hour access to the most holy place. No stifling formalities, or stodgy liturgical niceties needed.
Let’s remember for a moment the original audience. These were recent Jewish converts who had lost their social standing. Some were imprisoned, while others saw their personal property pillaged. Becoming a Christian meant leaving Judaism, a religion protected by Rome. Many were tempted to go back to the safety and security of their old life. FF Bruce says this about the author’s aim, “He encourages them with the assurance that they have everything to lose if they fall back, but everything to gain if they press on.”
Maybe today you feel like going back to your old life. Are you ready to waive the white flag, and give up on your marriage, family, faith, career, or dream? Remember the access you now have. Jesus shed his blood to give you this incredible privilege. When everything inside wants to run, draw near to God instead. Don’t step back. Step into the presence of God with confidence and faith. You will find grace in your time of need.
With this opportunity in mind, how should we enter the most holy place?