Friday, February 23

February 23, Friday

Scripture: Hebrews 10:19-25

19 And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20 By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. 21 And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Some thoughts:

     When a passage begins “And so…” it behooves us to look at what lies in the previous writing. The entire book of Hebrews up to this point has been explaining and expounding in every way the superiority of Jesus Christ over the Old Covenant. Step by step the author has addressed each of the most significant points of the Jewish law. More than any other book in the New Testament, Hebrews has shown how Jesus is the bridge, the fulfillment of everything in the Old Testament and specifically how the Old and New Testaments are connected in him. Jesus is our High Priest today as you read this praying on our behalf.

     In times past OT priests sprinkled the blood of the sacrificed animal for their own sins, which they had to do repeatedly. Not so with Jesus. This High Priest sprinkled his own, perfect blood. Therefore, our consciences have been sprinkled with the perfect blood of our High Priest. It does not need to be repeated.

     So if we’ve been forgiven, why did Jesus include in the Lord’s Prayer, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us”? Think about this. Do you sin even though you are a Christian? Yes, of course. You are not perfect. You have an old nature, though defeated is not yet completely dead! Sin separates intimacy with our Father in heaven. Confession frees the conscience of guilt and restores closeness with our heavenly Father.

     When our oldest son was a little boy, he had done something wrong. His heart was visibly and obviously very heavy with guilt. When we asked him what he had done, he confessed with tears. We hugged him and forgave him. His countenance and spirit changed immediately. His load of guilt was lifted. His comment, “Daddy, I’m happy again!” His response was biblical. Confession cleanses a guilty conscience and brings joy to the heart. (We also promised him we would never bring “it” up again. Reminding one of past failures is not what God does, which resulted in a Sharp family rule, which we occasionally had to be reminded of!) The cleansing blood of Jesus makes all this possible. Hallelujah!

Music: “Just As I Am” by Mahalia Jackson


Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, the power,

and the glory forever. Amen.