And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
Have you read through the books of Leviticus and Numbers in the Old Testament lately? Our church is reading through the Bible this year using the app, YouVersion. This is not my first attempt to read the entire Bible but I had forgotten the detail and even tediousness of God’s instructions to the children of Israel about…EVERYTHING. There was a right way and a wrong way for every circumstance of life. I’m sure my children would say that I must be Jewish because it worked that way in our household, too. (I have a teeny amount of Jewish blood.)
But what the Israelites never seemed to master was that if they obeyed these laws, God would bless them. No, instead they whined about the rules and even wanted to go backwards in time, forgetting the horrors of slavery in Egypt and, as a result, they suffered the consequences and anger of God again and again. An eleven day walk took forty years of wandering in the desert because of their willful and disobedient ways before they finally reached the Promised Land.
The festival of Passover began the journey for God’s people because it celebrated their liberation from Egypt. God wanted them to remember the lengths He had gone to free them and gave them very specific rules for the sacrifices they offered – from what type of animal or offering, to how to wash your clothes for purification at the end. Nothing was left to chance with death to those who were careless or disobedient. Blood and water were used again and again in the rituals and ceremonies. And, always, a perfect animal specimen was required to atone for a person’s sins as a sacrifice on the altar.
Easter brings the story full circle in that Jesus exemplified every aspect of the law for this perfect sacrifice and cleansing from our sin. And He did it once and for all.
Why did God put so many rules in place? Because He is holy and we are not and often choose to go our own way in sin…just like the children of Israel. But God loved those wayward people and forgave them again and again. He knew that one day, His Son, Jesus, would become the ultimate atonement for all who turned to Him as the Lamb of God…the perfect sacrifice.
Some may think it is too easy…that we have to DO something. No, we have to give up our pride and accept a free gift because of love.
Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.