“Therefore, brothers since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:19-25 ESV)
Most of the places I’ve worked have had special entrances. You couldn’t get into the building unless you had a computer card and waved it in front of the sensor. My young son called this the “magic card.” It gave you special powers. You could open locked doors and go secret places nobody else could go. He was so happy when I let him wave it, and the doors opened for him!
We’re like that too as adults, aren’t we? There are places we want to go—places our hearts yearn for—and we want to be in there. Even if we know that by rights we don’t belong there, still, we want access. We want to be welcomed in. We want that magic card.
The writer of Hebrews talks about the “holy places.” What does he mean? He is referring to the very presence of God, whether that’s on earth in the ancient temple, now destroyed—or in heaven itself, in the reality of which the temple was a faint shadow. Our hearts want to go there. We want to be in God’s presence, even though we know that in ourselves, we’re not fit for it—we are broken, unclean, wanting in so many ways. But still we yearn. This is the God who made us, the God who is all-beautiful and all-glorious—the God we are made for. To be with Him is life and joy and blessedness. We know it would stop the lonely ache that has been at the bottom of our hearts since forever.
But how could we stand before Him? How could we ever be welcome there, of all places?
In only one way—through the entrance Jesus made for us through His own body. That is the “curtain” the writer of Hebrews is describing—the one that was torn and broken on Good Friday, when Jesus opened the way to paradise for us. We come to the Father through Jesus, our entrance—and because of Him, we find welcome and forgiveness and joy.
Prayer: Lord, You made Yourself the way to life for us. Thank You. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
1. What is one place or special event that you really, really wanted access to?
2. How were you able to get in—if in fact, you did get in?
3. What is different about that method and the way Jesus brings us into the presence of the Father?