Devotions this week based on the Message: “BELIEVE: Week 25: HOPE”
(NOTE: This sermon series and devotional series is based on a book by Randy Frazee entitled, “BELIEVE.”
You may choose to download or purchase the book as a supplement to your worship and devotional emails.)
What makes the anchor of hope Jesus gives so secure?
Hebrews 6:19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf.
Let’s explore this verse a bit today…
The root cause of hopelessness is sin and a broken relationship with the Lord. We live in a broken world affected by evil, people who let us down, dreams that get dashed, and desires that never pan out. We are seeking something better for tomorrow and are tempted to place it in things or people that are temporary or eventually unreliable.
So to begin to solve the problem of hopelessness, one must have a solution for sin. For when sin and its consequences are removed, one can have a true and living hope in a life eternal where sin has no more affect or consequences.
So the reason this hope is an anchor for the soul, firm and secure is because it “enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.”
Makes you feel great, right?
Probably not much, unless we look back to what the passage is referring.
In the Old Testament directed cycle of worship, God instructed the priests to build a tabernacle (tent) and then eventually a brick and mortar temple. The design of both was the same with the front two thirds being called the “Holy Place.” The high priest or priest on duty would enter this area regularly for the rituals God prescribed. The “Most Holy Place” was a perfect cube and separated from the Holy Place by a thick curtain. The Ark of the Covenant was in this room and it was off limits except one time a year when the priest would enter “behind” the curtain on the Great Day of Atonement. You can read all about it in Leviticus 16. Here’s some key verses of what the High Priest would do “behind the curtain.”
11 “Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household, and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering. 12 He is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before the Lord and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense and take them behind the curtain. 13 He is to put the incense on the fire before the Lord, and the smoke of the incense will conceal the atonement cover above the tablets of the covenant law, so that he will not die. 14 He is to take some of the bull’s blood and with his finger sprinkle it on the front of the atonement cover; then he shall sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the atonement cover.
15 “He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bull’s blood: He shall sprinkle it on the atonement cover and in front of it. 16 In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been. He is to do the same for the tent of meeting, which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17 No one is to be in the tent of meeting from the time Aaron goes in to make atonement in the Most Holy Place until he comes out, having made atonement for himself, his household and the whole community of Israel.
All the rituals of the Day of Atonement were pictures of the seriousness of sin and how blood needed to be shed to bring connection and restore what sin had broken. They were a picture that pointed forward to the ultimate shedding of blood by “the Lamb of God,” Jesus when he went to the cross.
The book of Hebrews is a great book to understand Jesus’ role to fulfill and bring to fulfillment the Old Testament rituals and prophesies.
Here’s a great verse (Hebrews 7:26-27): Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.
Jesus went “behind the curtain” with his own blood to bring full atonement for our sins and the sins of the whole world. Proof? When Jesus finished his suffering on the cross here’s what is recorded:
Matthew 27:50-51: And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
Jesus went behind the curtain to sprinkle his blood for the sins of all people. With the curtain gone, our sins paid for, we have a hope that is an anchor for our soul, firm and secure.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for taking your precious blood “behind the curtain” to pay for my sins. As a result, I know I stand forgiven and can always have a living hope in an eternity with you forever. AMEN.