Today: Monday, December 09, 2019

Why Jesus came: To bridge the gap    (3/4/2012 1)

Picture a little girl holding a box of chocolates. She can imagine just how fantastic that chocolate is—but until she can take off the lid, she can’t experience that chocolate for herself.

Long before Jesus was born, God told Moses to have the people make a sanctuary for him, where he would come and live among them. However, this ‘Holy of Holies’ was curtained off, and only the high priest was allowed to go in—and only once a year, at that! There was a sense of remoteness between the people and God, and they had to live by hundreds of rules.

Jesus changed all that. At the very moment when he died on the cross, it was recorded that the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The curtain was now useless: Jesus’ death ripped open the separation between humankind and God.

After he died and went into heaven, Jesus was no longer physically with us. He understood that this was painful, so he said: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Comforter, to be with you forever” (some translations say ‘advocate’, ‘counsellor’ or ‘helper’).

Indeed, not long afterwards, when the disciples were all together in one place, a sound like a violent wind filled the whole house, and they saw what seemed to be tongues of fire resting on them, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began doing miraculous things. This was a very important moment: the point when the Holy Spirit of God took up residence in those who believed, rather than in the Holy of Holies.

To understand this, it’s helpful to remember that there is only one God, but that God has three persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit. By dying as he did, Jesus removed the curtain which separates us from God, and caused God to live not just among us but in us.

Even better, we no longer need that high priest to go into the Holy of Holies once a year to make sacrifices for us! Instead, it is Jesus who makes us right with God: after Jesus died, Timothy wrote that ‘there is one mediator between God and humans, the man Christ Jesus’. One man, who would be the go-between between us and God, every day, forever.

As for those hundreds of rules the people in Old Testament had to live by, John tells us that “the law was given through Moses [but] grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” Paul also said: “But now we have been released from the law… no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.”

So under the new régime, or covenant, between God and humankind:

  • Jesus breaks down the barrier between God and humankind
  • Jesus makes it possible for the Holy Spirit to dwell in us, not just around us
  • Jesus does the work of making us right with God, through his grace (we are no longer under those laws, nor does the high priest make sacrifices for us)

Jesus is the bridge to both the Father and the Holy Spirit—lifting the lid on God, so that our experience of God can be personal.

Pray: Lord God, you sent your son to bring us closer to you. You took away the burden of our having to make ourselves worthy: instead, Jesus did that work for us. Help me to remember this, and to live as you would want. Amen.

Think about: What do you think it means, and what difference does it make, to have God's Holy Spirit living in you?

Challenge: Think of the bridges you use, perhaps even on a daily basis. Each time you cross one this week - whether on foot or by train or bus/car - imagine how you would manage, and what you would have to do, if that bridge wasn't there.

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