Webster’s dictionary defines awesome as “causing or inducing awe; inspiring an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, or fear.” We use this word loosely in today’s vocabulary, but I have recently experienced its true meaning. I traveled to Niagara Falls, Ontario this past weekend and was overcome by the power and strength of the cascading water. At first view from afar, the scene was quite impressive; but, as I journeyed closer to the roar of the waterfall and felt the mist cover my skin, I knew I was experiencing one of God’s greatest natural wonders. I was in awe. The trials and tribulations of life silenced around me as I stared in amazement at the magnificent scene. I felt small yet mighty; intimidated yet empowered; fearful yet safe. It was truly awesome. This, I imagined, was a small taste of what God’s presence must feel like.
For Christ didn’t enter the earthly version of the Holy Place; He entered the Place itself, and offered Himself to God as the sacrifice for our sins.
This week at Teaching & Worship we are invited into God’s Most Holy Place, the earthly tabernacle. It is here in Hebrews chapter 9 where we deepen our understanding of this most mysterious and sacred “inner room.” This, I can imagine, was truly an awesome site to see. Let’s look at it a little closer. For simplicity’s sake, this sanctuary was really just a movable tent used by the people of Israel. The meaning and symbolism behind the detailed construction of this temple, the careful placement of the artifacts within, and the deliberate separation of the two rooms however is far beyond simple; rather, it is supernatural. These intimate details were “shadows” of a future where Jesus Christ would completely fulfill God’s plan.
Do you feel the hope in those words? Do you sense the power and purpose behind God’s plan? I sure do. God was preparing to remove the barrier between our hearts and His formidable but awesome presence! He was making a way for us to enter into His throne room with confidence. Think about that for a minute; what once would have consumed us, now invigorates us! God’s message in Hebrews is profound. We are being called into His presence so He can love us, fill us, and heal us. It’s where we belong; it’s where we were always meant to be.
What does that mean for us practically, today, though? How do we receive all that He has prepared for us? Pray and believe, have faith and act. Pray not to a distant God but to a God who lives within you. Pray with complete assurance that there is no obstacle in your way. But most importantly, expect to experience His presence by simply asking. Partner with Him; He is personally available at all times and in all ways.
Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.
Friends, He will come again. When Christ died on the cross, He sacrificed Himself once for all. He then gifted us with the Holy Spirit to help deal with present circumstances. And now, on our behalf, He appears in Heaven as our High Priest. His promise is to return and raise us to eternal life in a world where sin is no more. And that…is awesome!
See you Thursday!