#24: February 21, 2008

Today’s reflection is drawn from Leviticus 16.

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Leviticus 16 is a description of the Day of Atonement. One day a year, the high priest was to go into the Holy of Holies and make atonement for the sins of Israel.

It’s was a very long and drawn out process, but for good reason. The high priest had to be clean before God to enter before the mercy seat on the ark where God was said to dwell. Tradition has it that the high priest would wear a rope around his foot. If he was not clean before God, he would be struck down. And the other priests would have to pull him out, as they would not be able to physically enter the place and carry him out.

It was an extremely serious affair. And it’s such a contrast with the position we are in today. In the New Testament letters, there is much on our freedom to approach God with confidence. We are, by nature, just as sinful as the high priests during the time of Israel. The only difference is that we now have a high priest who has atoned for our sins once and for all. His name is Jesus. Hebrews 7 states that “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.”

It is through Jesus that we are righteous – without sin. It is by the righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus that we have the confidence to freely approach the throne of God. And how significant that is!

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:14-16
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