In today’s scripture, we read that the Lord Jesus came as a high priest of “the good things that are now already here” (NIV). Some earlier texts say “the good things that are to come.”
Christ ministers in a tabernacle that is not made by human hands but by God.
The sanctuary where Jesus is serving is heaven itself. “For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered into heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence” (Heb. 9:24, NIV).
God instructed Moses to make a tabernacle with the Holy of Holies as a model of heaven. Under the old covenant, only the High Priest could gain access to the mercy seat—and then only once a year, on the Day of Atonement. (See Leviticus 16:2.)
However, when Jesus, the New Testament High Priest, died on the cross he opened the door of heaven to us. We, whom Jesus has made priests of the New Covenant, have the freedom to enter into God’s presence any day and any time. Furthermore, Jesus not only saved us but continues to intercede for us. (See Hebrews 7:25.)
Jesus understands and sympathizes with our human weaknesses. Scripture tells us that he was tempted in every way that we are, though he did not sin. (See Hebrews 4:15.)
Therefore, in our failures and weaknesses, we do not need to worry that Christ will reject us or cast us away. Quite the opposite, in fact! Instead of rejecting us, Christ invites us to come boldly to the throne of God. It is there that grace is freely offered to believers for all the issues we face in life.
We can put our trust in the new high priestly office of Christ, who is the assurance of the New Covenant and the divine promise that the Covenant is true and eternal.
What a gift Christ has given—that we may come boldly to God’s throne of grace and there find help in our times of need! (See Hebrews 4:16.)
Ruth and Psalm 146 share a thematic connection. Ruth is a foreigner who decides to follow the God of the Israelites, and the psalmist praises God for being the trustworthy God who cares about the poor, the oppressed, and the foreigner. In Ruth, Boaz will demonstrate this kind of care for her. The New Testament readings focus on sacrifice. Hebrews teaches us that Christ was both the greatest high priest and the eternal sacrifice. A scribe in Mark receives praise from Jesus, for he understands that the sacrificial system is less weighty than the act of loving one’s neighbor. Ruth and this scribe are examples of those, named and anonymous, who have come before us in the faith.
Read Ruth 1:1-18. When have you left the familiar behind to set out into the unknown? Where did you experience God’s presence and help in that situation?
Read Psalm 146. When have you witnessed God at work in the world in a way that gave you hope about an otherwise seemingly hopeless situation?
Read Hebrews 9:11-14. How does the redemption offered in Christ’s death free you to worship the living God? What form does your worship take?
Read Mark 12:28-34. What does it mean to you to love your neighbor as you love yourself? How do you act on that commandment in your everyday life?
Respond by posting a prayer.
This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.