“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…”—Hebrews 10:19-22
When Old Testament High Priests entered the Holy Place and went behind the curtain into the Holy of Holies, they sprinkled blood on the Ark of the Covenant, making intercession for themselves and the people.
Tradition says that a rope was tied around the High Priest’s leg so that if he died there in the presence of God (perhaps because he failed to heed God’s exact instructions), he could be pulled from behind the curtain without anyone needing to enter the sacred place. Although God dwells everywhere, this 15’x15’ room was where God’s presence was localized.
When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain (veil) of the temple was ripped down the middle, from top to bottom. This torn veil symbolized that a new era had come, and the entrance into the Holy of Holies was accessible to anyone who would enter through the shed blood of Christ. Even better, Christ actually “brought us to God,” as it were; we are now in the Holy of Holies, the very citadel of God’s presence.
We read that we have complete assurance—confidence—that we can now enter into the holy places; we don’t have to draw back in fear, but rather come with boldness and know that we are invited, welcomed, and heard. Here we meet one-on-one with the Almighty.
In a previous post, I emphasized that the purpose of prayer is not simply to have our requests heard and answered according to God’s will, but also that prayer is the means by which we enjoy God’s presence. In our rushed world, we’ve forgotten that “communion with God” is not simply a verbal connection, it’s a relational one.
This week, rather than spending a great deal of time asking God for this or that, spend time in His presence, enjoying His favor. We are assured, “In Your presence there is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11).
Jesus brought us into the Holy of Holies not just so we could address our sin issues and personal needs, but rather that we might enter with confidence into God’s presence to cultivate our growing relationship with Him.
Let Us Pray
Father, I thank You that I am in Your presence being heard and received. I thank You that the Most Holy Place that was so inaccessible in Old Testament times is now open to me, and that I can enter by the blood of Jesus. I rejoice that even as I sorrow over my sin—however dark and regrettable it is—that You and I can meet for fellowship and reconciliation. Through Jesus I am made acceptable; through Him my sin is cleansed, and fellowship with You is restored. Teach me to enjoy Your presence.
Now, Lord, I pray for _______ that they might know that if they come to You by way of Christ, they shall be welcomed and received, forgiven and set free. Cause them to see that the path has been cleared, and that they do not have to be Your permanent enemy. Help them to know that You don’t have Your back toward them, but rather You’re there with arms outstretched to welcome them into Your presence. May they know that the issue is not the greatness of their sin, but rather the great value of the Blood that was shed for them. Bring deliverance and hope into their hearts.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.