Imagine the most amazing, breathtaking thing that you have ever seen. Those of you who have traveled might remember some amazing scenes. May be it is the Himalayas, may be it is just our Ooty. Pastor and family would remember the beautiful scenes from Manali. May be some of you have seen the Taj Mahal, May be it is a beautiful rainbow, Have any of you seen a real whale? Or a Dolphin jumping out of the sea? When I was in Hawaii, I went snorkeling and I still remember vividly the beautiful sea life that I could see , so colourful, so vibrant. Much before, Leslie still remembers the beautiful colours that the sky threw up one of the days when we were still courting.
When we see such things, we try and capture it in a photograph, isn’t it? Have you ever looked at the photograph later and have you really felt the awe that the real scene evoked in you? Imagine the same scene in a two dimensional photograph. Can you really capture the real beauty in a small photograph? The photograph might be able to provide an idea of what it was, but can it ever be equal to the real thing?
This is what Jesus accomplished on the cross. He gave us a right to see and experience the real thing, and not be satisfied with a mere copy. The passage before us is just that. An affirmation that Jesus is the real thing, and everything before Him was a mere copy.
The author of the book of Hebrews is giving us a description of the old testament tabernacle, or the old temple. Let me give you a visual of the very first tabernacle when the Israelites were mobile. Then came the temple built by Solomon. The concept is the same. The temple has three parts, the outer courts, the holy place and the holy of Holies. In the Holy place and the Holy of Holies were placed several items as commanded to Moses.
Jesus Christ, through His atoning sacrifice on the cross, replaced the temple, all it’s contents, and the priests with himself. He changed the concept of worship around. He changed the access levels to reach the Holy of Holies. He said, you don’t need the candle stand. I am the light of the world, I am the Sun of righteousness. He said you don’t need the loaves of bread that is placed on the table. I am the bread of life. He replaced the golden altar with the incense stand, and incense with his own intercession. He replaced the ark of the covenant with his perfect obedience to the law and his fulfilling all righteousness for us.
He not only replaced the artifacts if the temple for us. He replaced the mode of worship for us. In the old temple, the ordinary priests used to enter only up to the Holy place. Only the High priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies. But the high priest was never allowed to enter the Holy of holies without blood. He first offered the blood for his own errors and then for the errors of others. With His work on the cross, Jesus changed it all for us. He became the perfect high priest, who entered the Holy of Holies with his own blood. Not only He entered, through His own blood he gave us the permission to enter the Holy of Holies too. The door between the Holy place and the Holy of Holies was shielded with a veil. So was the first entrance to the temple. Jesus with his work on the cross, tore the veil and the curtains down, and made access possible for all of us.
In short, Jesus, replaced the earthly copy of the man made tabernacle with the heavenly tabernacle in him self. We do not need to worship a copy any more, we need not be satisfied with a photograph. In Jesus we have the real thing. And he became the permanent and perfect mediator for us.
Let us Thank Him for what he has done for us.