24th Sunday after Pentecost | November 4, 2018
11 So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. 12 With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.
13 Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. 14 Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.
Hebrews 9:11-14 New Living Translation (NLT)
As we journey through Hebrews we are still on this thought of Jesus being our great high priest, and also that Jesus is the perfect sacrifice. Because of Jesus’ holy nature, he is the only one able to make this perfect sacrifice for our sin. The author is reminding us that Jesus is greater than the earthly tabernacle and because Jesus came, died, rose again, and ascended to heaven, he has entered the perfect tabernacle – not stained by human hands – because it is not part of the created world.
Again we are reminded that Christ’s sacrifice was for everyone and for all time. There is no longer a reason to sacrifice goats, sheep, and other animals because Christ’s sacrifice is for all people – for all time and the sacrifice lasts forever. This old sacrifice could cleanse our human iniquities – our sin, but it had to be done over and over and over again.
Which brings me to the title of today’s post. As soon as I read this scripture, I thought about Wesley’s Advent hymn “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.” Because of Christ’s sacrifice and the power that raised Christ from the dead, which is the Holy Spirit, we can have new life – eternal life. We can worship the ever-living God forever, if we trust in Him.
Wesley’s hymn reminds us how the Jewish people longed for the coming of a Savior. We are reminded in another scripture, that the same power that raised Jesus from the grave, also lives in us – meaning that same eternal Spirit comes – and he wants to reign in our hearts if we let him. Christ, who was God, humbled himself – through the power of the Holy Spirit – died and was raised by that same Spirit. Let us worship Him as we are called to do.
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.