A SEATED SAVIOR
Lord, You sit while everyone else stands.
Read HEBREWS 8:1–6
The High Priest of a New Covenant
8 Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.
3 Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. 4 If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. 5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”[a] 6 But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.
- Hebrews 8:5 Exodus 25:40
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‘We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.’ (Heb 6:19)
In 7:28, our author mentions our perfect High Priest, the Son of God; now in 8:1 he pauses to summarize: ‘We do have such a high priest’ ! Picture the writer making a rope in these chapters: there are at least six strands to this rope: we have a perfect High Priest, in a better tent/sanctuary, with a more excellent ministry, who has offered one perfect sacrifice and a new covenant based on better promises. Again and again in these chapters, one strand or another of this wonderful rope rises into view.
In today’s reading I focus on the sanctuary which Moses was commanded to build in the wilderness. Have I ever read the extraordinary double narrative (the instructions and then the construction) in Exodus 25–40? The tent was utterly splendid, with much gold and silver and bronze. Today’s reading tells me that this tabernacle was only a copy and a shadow of the true God-made heavenly tent to which our Lord has gone on our behalf. No Jewish priest would ever have dreamt of sitting (!) on the mercy-seat, which was central to the holiest place in the tabernacle or temple, but Jesus has taken His seat at the right hand of the Majesty! There were no seats in the tabernacle because the work was never finished. Our Lord’s heavenly session means that He has finished His work; it does not mean He has been doing nothing ever since the Ascension.
The Christian religion has no geographical pilgrimage center. Christians are not building conservationists, although I might appropriately consider if our sanctuary is as beautiful as it can be. Our Lord’s church is a body of people, not a building; we are its ‘living stones’ (1 Pet. 2:5)
I praise You, Lord, for Your heavenly intercession on our behalf; and pray today for my neighboring ‘living stones’!
Lord, we thank You for being the mediator of a better covenant based on better promises, all for our eternal benefit.