Summary: The "Warning" signs that once stood in front of the Most Holy Place of God has been replaced with a "Welcome" mat now that Jesus has come to offer Himself as a sacrifice for our sins -- Come on in!
Come On In
Security is a huge topic of conversation today. Security has always been a concern for any society. Armies have protected the interests of their nation. Surveillance cameras have protected the interest of business owners. Security systems have protected the inhabitants of homes and their possessions. Cities and countries have built walls to keep invaders out.
There is probably no greater example of people’s concern for security than the Great Wall of China. The Great Wall of China is 4,500 miles long. That is about the same distance you would have to travel if you wanted to go to the North Pole from Miami, Florida. The Wall was built by three different Chinese dynasties to protect the people from potential invaders. The Chinese were so concerned about their safety that they spent more than 1,500 years constructing and reconstructing one of the true wonders of the world. Let me give you some interesting facts about the Great Wall of China.
· If you took all the bricks from the Ming portion of the Wall alone, they could circle the Earth at the equator in a wall five feet high and three feet thick.
· The Great Wall’s height averages from 15 to 30 feet high. It’s width averages from 15 to 25 feet wide with about a 13-foot wide roadway on top.
· The death toll in the building of the first Great Wall was astounding: More than a million people died building this 3,000 mile section more than 300 people per mile.
· The oldest section of the Great Wall was begun in 221 B.C., not long after China was unified into an empire from a loose configuration of feudal states.
· The estimated cost of the Ming Great Wall is $360 billion, or roughly what’s been spent on America’s interstate highway system in the last 40 years.
· Three million people--70 percent of China’s population at the time--was involved in building the Qin Wall.
· At its peak the Ming Wall contained thousands of individual forts and towers and was guarded by more than a million men.
Security is no “new” issue. Security is not solely for the purpose of protecting us from others. Sometimes security is to protect us from dangerous situations that we can avoid if we will heed the advice. Have you ever seen a power plant and read the signs that are posted everywhere? “DANGER: HIGH VOLTAGE. KEEP OUT!” If we will heed those instructions then we will not have to worry about coming into contact with an awesome power that can kill us.
On a smaller scale, just look at the home of any husband and wife who have a little one crawling around on the floor or just learning to walk. You will see latches on doors, cleaners put in places where little hands can’t get them, guards closing off staircases, medicines placed high above the reach of little hands and secured behind locked doors, plugs in electrical outlets, and much more. Why? Why would parents go to such lengths? For no other reason than to protect the little ones they love.
In our Scripture for today we find the danger signs that were once so prevalent on the doors leading into the Holy of Holies torn down and the welcome mat placed square in front of the entrance that leads to the presence of God. That sacred place where no person dared to enter, except for the High Priest who had been cleansed and made holy by the rituals and sacrifices prescribed by God. The presence of God has now been made available for everyone who will enter in. Let’s get started by taking a look at Hebrews 10:19-25.
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:19-25 NIV)
You can’t even begin to fathom what an awesome Scripture this is until you understand the mindset of those who first read this in utter disbelief. To think that we, sinful, messed up, frail, broken people, can have confidence to come into the most intimate, holy space of the God of the Universe is beyond my comprehension. I have to admit that part of my lack of comprehension, part of my sense of awe, is because I do understand the radical shift from what was understood by the people before Jesus gave His life to open the door for you and me.