Summary: On the first Good Friday, all the barriers to fellowship with God were removed. We now have access to God’s throne of grace.
Hebrews 10:16-25 “Accessibility”
Good Friday is a sober time, as we ponder the human condition, our sinfulness, and the sacrifice of Jesus the Christ. It seems incongruous to call this day “good.” The images of the day are certainly not “good.” Jesus is betrayed, tried, flogged, mocked and crucified. These are horrible images. Still, this day is good, because God brought forth out of the greatest evil, the greatest good.
THE TEMPLE CURTAIN
Matthew, in his description of the events that occurred at Jesus’ crucifixion, describes that the temple curtain was torn in two when Jesus breathed his last breathe. This was a notable event. The temple curtain was several inches thick. God tore the curtain for a purpose. God wanted to demonstrate that the death of Jesus open up access to the Holy of holies—to the presence of God.
The writer of Hebrews recalls this event to his readers. In verses 19 and 20, he writes, “We have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus … through his flesh.” Humankind no longer needed intermediaries in order to approach God. We do not need priests or holy men to stand between us and God. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, we can boldly enter into God’s presence.
The new access that we have to the person of God also provides us with a new relationship with God. Our lives are not longer governed by a list of does and don’ts. Instead we have God’s Spirit dwelling within us. In this new relationship the Spirit guides us and directs us. The Holy Spirit not only leads us into faithful obedience, but also into creative works of love.
This is a new way. A personal relationship with God is vastly different than religious practices. Religious practices are going through the motions to please God or attain our own salvation. The Christian journey with God is a personal, one-to-one journey.
The new personal relationship with God enables us to enter into God’s presence in a bold way. The Lord’s Prayer invites us to call God, “Our Father.” Martin Luther writes that we should approach God as children do their parents—with full confidence that their parents will hear their requests and act in their favor.
Not only do we have access to God and a new relationship with God, but we also are forgiven. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from our sin.
The writer of the book of Hebrews also makes note of baptism—the washing of our flesh. Baptism makes the cross of Christ personal in our lives. It affirms that God has chosen us to be his children, forgiven our sins, made us righteous before him and filled us with the Holy Spirit.
We are able to walk with a lightness in our step free from guilt and shame, because of the cross of Jesus and our baptism. We no longer need to carry a heavy burden. We can walk straight and tall because we are a forgiven people.
Sometimes it looks like evil wins, but the final victory is ours. As we walk through life and journey with Jesus, we do so with a new relationship, a new access and a new forgiveness that no one can take away from us.