"This (the nullification of the Law & Jesus' work to allow our approach to the Father) means a 'better' hope for us because Jesus has become our priest by the oath of God. Other men have been priests without any sworn guarantee, but Jesus has the oath of him that said of him: ‘The Lord has sworn and will not relent, You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.'
"And he is, by virtue of this fact, himself the living guarantee of a 'better' agreement. Human High Priests have always been changing, for death made a permanent appointment impossible. But Christ, because he lives for ever, possesses a priesthood that needs no successor. This means that he can save fully and completely those who approach God through him, for he is always living to intercede on their behalf..." (Hebrews 7:20-25)
My friends, every one of our false, half-way, quasi- and faulty understandings regarding sin and the Cross absolutely break down as we're looking into the face of this Jesus Himself. Jesus, everyday, stands before us as the High Priest and the sacrifice, demanding nothing of us but that we'd fully accept everything that He so freely offers. He saves "FULLY and COMPLETELY those who approach God through Him, for He is ALWAYS LIVING to intercede on our behalf..."
I just can't say enough how much we don't yet believe that! Otherwise, let's be honest, our lives in this world would look so totally different. We would never act as if alone; we would never not have a conversation going with Him; we would be buoyant with hope; we would be self-forgetful in the ever-available presence of this glorious Savior. We would not keep doubling-back to worries about our salvation or our struggles; we would be confident to walk before Him and talk about those with Him. And, finding Him ever so caring, we’d then be back to our free and joyous enjoyment of life under His yoke – Him doing all the work under there – as we lived out the rest of our days with a growing delight. Even our sorrows would lose significance in view of what’s offered here. They’d be swallowed up into the beauty of His “always living” plan...
Here is the High Priest we need. A man who is holy, faultless, unstained, beyond the very reach of sin and lifted to the very Heavens. There is no need for him, like the High Priest we know, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins and then for the people’s. He made one sacrifice, once for all, when he offered up himself. The Law makes for its High Priests men of human weakness. But the word of the oath, which came after the Law, makes for High Priest the Son, who is perfect for ever! (Hebrews 7:26-28)
Jesus is perfect forever.
Jesus is our High Priest.
Jesus is the one sacrifice, once for all.
Jesus is holy, faultless and unstained.
And He - today - right now - loves you. He has already done it all to set you free.
Would you, today, be free in that freedom?
When the Sabbath was over, just as the first day of the week was dawning Mary from Magdala and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. At that moment there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from Heaven, went forward and rolled back the stone and took his seat upon it. His appearance was dazzling like lightning and his clothes were white as snow. The guards shook with terror at the sight of him and collapsed like dead men. But the angel spoke to the women, "Do not be afraid. I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here - he is risen, just as he said he would. Come and look at the place where he was lying. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead. And, listen, he goes before you into Galilee! You will see him there! Now I have told you my message."
Then the women went away quickly from the tomb, their hearts filled with awe and great joy, and ran to give the news to his disciples.
But quite suddenly, Jesus stood before them in their path, and said, “Peace be with you!” And they went forward to meet him and, clasping his feet, worshipped him... (Matthew 28:1-9)
This first touch that those Mary's had with the risen Jesus - down there in the dust, clasping His actual alive feet with their own two hands - must have carried those two ladies through the rest of their lives, giving unlimited riches of courage. To actually grasp and feel and touch a living Savior is to have true immutable knowledge of a Power who is unshakable.
By His Holy Spirit, may that sort of knowledge be more ours today.
"Out of that Upper Room which had been the place of fears [the disciples] burst with the glad Good News. They smiled at poverty, rejoiced under stripes, were elated at their humiliations, sang in midnight prisons, courted death and shared with every man, everywhere, their own abundant life. God had matched them against that need and they were spiritually adequate. I see nothing, absolutely nothing, that will get the church of today out from behind closed doors except it be this one thing – Pentecost. Increase the ornateness of its ritual as you will, improve the quality and quantity of its religious education as you may, raise the standards of qualifications of the ministry as high as you can, pour money without stint into the coffers of the church – give it everything – everything except this one thing that Pentecost gave, and you are merely ornamenting the dead. Until this sacred Fact takes place, preaching is only lecturing, praying is only repeating formulas, services cease to be service – it all remains earth-bound, circumscribed, inadequate, dead.”
E. Stanley Jones, The Christ of Every Road
“You must not let yourselves be distressed — you must hold on to your faith in God and to your faith in me.” John 14:1
With these words, we stand upon the threshold of the Last Discourse, including Jesus’ wonderful prayers that follow after, and, in these words, we’re given the key that allows us to go in, to cross the threshold, and to walk around in the glories of the Kingdom: “you must hold on to your faith in God and to your faith in me”; in the Greek – “believe in God, believe also in me.”
Over those next twenty-four hours, the disciples will see Jesus arrested, put on trial, brutalized, condemned to death, and then crucified between two thieves: “believe in God, believe also in me,” He says. Forty-eight hours later, Mary Magdalene will tumble into the upper room, Peter and John will go to investigate her report of an empty tomb: “believe in God, believe also in me.” Forty days later, the Eleven will watch Him ascend into Heaven and now hold, in their hearts and minds, the entirety of the earthly ministry of the Gospel of Jesus: “believe in God, believe also in me.” Today, sitting wherever you are sitting, you are a present chosen apostle whose task is nothing less and nothing more than the first Apostles – “Tell everyone”; “believe in God, believe also in me.”
Belief is trust; Belief is a foundational confidence; Belief is believing that all of it is true, that He’s alive, that the unseen realities of His Kingdom far outweigh all the “seen things” going on around you. Belief is waking up in the morning, as one indwelt by the One, and following His Way, with childlike joy, all day. Belief is everything. Belief aligns us with the eternal, the infinite.
As we consider these simple, opening words of the Last Discourse: Do you believe?
Every minute we worry we waste. Of course, anxiety will come. But it's how quickly we're through with it that will decide, day by day, minute by minute, how useful we can be for the Kingdom of Heaven.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing..." John 15:1-5
"You did well to come [unto Jesus]; you do better to abide. Who would, after seeking the King's palace, be content to stand in the door, when he is invited in to dwell in the King's presence, and share with Him in all the glory of His royal life? Oh, let us enter in and abide, and enjoy to the full all the rich supply His wondrous love hath prepared for us!" Andrew Murray, Abide in Christ