This Easter Sunday, I would like to remind of our "access to God," a personal encounter that is sometimes taken for granted.
Under the old covenant, in the Old Testament, our access to God was extremely limited. Unless one was the High Priest, one could never meet directly with the Lord.
In the Old Testament there was a veil that separated the the most holy place in the temple and the tabernacle.
In Exodus. 26 this veil is described for us: v.31-33 "And thou shalt make a veil of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubims shall it be made: And thou shalt hang it upon four pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold: their hooks shall be of gold, upon the four sockets of silver. And thou shalt hang up the veil under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the veil the ark of the testimony: and the veil shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy."
The high priest was required to make an animal sacrifice before attempting to enter this most Holy of places to meet God face to face. Only a pure, perfect man without sin could be a suitable sacrifice that God would accept as an offering for sin.
PRIOR to the death of Jesus on the Cross:
- Only priests of the Levite tribe could offer gifts and sacrifices.
- Only Hebrews could be called the sons and daughters of the Lord.
- Only those who kept the Day of Atonement were considered in right relationship with God.
- Only those who fully knew and followed the Law could be called righteous.
Jesus said in John 6:37-39: "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day."
This verse speaks of the Lord's work in saving his people from their sins.
Jesus is the righteous One and, according to 2 Cor. 5:21: "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
"Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments." Matthew 27:35
"Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice saying, "My God, My God! What have You forsaken me?!" Matthew 27:45-46.
"And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold! The veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth trembled and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many."
"When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, and saying, "Truly this was the Son of God." Matthew Chapter 27.
AFTER the death of Jesus on the Cross:
- Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:12-13 says, "For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
- A person can be called a child of God regardless of race, gender, or social status. Gatatians 3:26-29 says, "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
- Whoever believes in Christ shall be counted as righteous. 1 John 2:29 says, "You know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him."
- Whoever believes in Christ shall inherit everlasting life. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoesoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."
- All who believe can make the ultimate sacrifice to God. Luke 10:27 says, "Love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind."