In our study through Hebrews, we have been taken to the imagery of the Tabernacle over and over again. Everything about the Tabernacle was intended to reveal the holiness of God, that He dwells in inapproachable light, and that our sin makes a separation between us and Him. As such, we are not able (in our own merit) to enter into His very presence. That access must be mediated for us by a priest, and by blood sacrifice to provide covering for our sin. The veil made a physical separation between the worshiper and God's glory and physical presence among His people. Therefore, the worship experience under the Old Covenant was one of limited and fearful access to a holy God, through imperfect (and therefore repetitive) sacrifice.
This was all pointing ahead, of course, in anticipation of the ultimately priestly work of Jesus. When His body was broken and His blood was shed on the cross, the barrier of separation between us and God was torn away. That limited and fearful access gave way to confident and free access to our loving heavenly Father through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus! That is why our text this last week reminded us… "Since we confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus…" (Heb 10:19). That is also why our text exhorted us, therefore, to "draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith…" (Heb 10:22). We are free to draw near to God with confidence, because our confidence is in the finished work of Jesus, not in ourselves!
I was looking into that phrase "draw near" a little more. It is the same phrase that is translated in the gospels multiples times when it refers to how people "came to Jesus…" Think of the contrast in this for a moment. The God who dwells in unapproachable light, whose holiness was pictured by the Tabernacle, now in the flesh, being freely approached by anyone and everyone for just about every purpose. The disciples drew near to Jesus. The sick and needy drew near to Jesus. The Pharisees drew near to Jesus. The masses drew near to Jesus. Some drew near to Him for healing. Some drew near to Him to test Him. Some drew near to Him for understanding and for teaching. Some drew near to Him seeking status. Some drew near to Him because in Him they'd found the words to eternal life. Some drew near to Him to be wowed by His miracles. Some drew near to Him to arrest and try Him. Some drew near to Him to hammer nails through His flesh and into a piece of wood.
Unrestricted access to God Himself - it is hard to grasp the significance of what was happening in Jesus' earthly ministry. In that moment, those drawing near to this "man" had no idea of what was taking place. As I was thinking about this, I was also reminded of the way Jesus was teaching them. A new, wonderful, and glorious word began to emerge, beginning in the sermon on the mount - that word is "Father". The holy God of the Tabernacle, the creator of all things, is also our HEAVENLY FATHER! Jesus, who through the incarnation was approachable without restriction, was coming to accomplish the sacrifice needed in order for us to be able to truly draw near to God, and know Him as our heavenly Father.
"Father" is a beautiful, biblical word for helping us uphold both the approachability of God and His absolute holiness. In attempts to highlight the confident access we have to God, some use words that minimize the glory of God. This is why I'm not wearing the t-shirt that says "Jesus is my homeboy".
"Father" is also a word that beautifully captures the heart of the gospel. We were the prodigal son, squandering our lives in rebellion. We were the other son, thinking we deserve the inheritance because of our self-righteousness. We were the orphan, alienated through our sin and therefore without a home, without an identity, without love, and without hope. But oh the wonder of God's love through the gospel: "See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are." (1 John 3:1) "For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!'" Notice those two words, and notice the exclamation points after them ABBA! FATHER!
Through Jesus we have confident access to live boldly in the presence of our loving and perfect heavenly Father. Thank you Jesus!