Hebrews 10:1-39; Mark 14:1-11
Assurance in Times of Stress; Warning in Times of Leisure
These Hebrews had grown a bit slack in their zeal for the Lord. We know this from two places in this chapter. Verse thirty-two calls the Hebrews to “recall the former days” when they gladly endured suffering and hardship, knowing that they had a far better abode awaiting them. The fact that they must “recall” shows that they had forgotten. The second place that speaks to the cooling of their ardor for the Lord is verse twenty-five where they are warned not to “neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some.” In short, they needed some encouragement.
And they received it. They are reminded of how superior our Lord’s offering of himself is to the former offerings of the bulls, lambs, and goats in which they used to place their trust. Those offerings foreshadowed his. While the priest must stand at the altar day after day, Christ offered himself once for all, and now sits at the right hand of the Father. His blood cleanses us body and soul, clears the conscience, and makes us acceptable to the Father, for “he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”
Therefore, Christians may have confidence to enter the holy place, the very throne-room of God, because of the blood of Jesus. The curtain which separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies in the temple, which was rent asunder (Matthew 27:51) upon our Lord’s death on the cross, testifies to his precious body, which was rent asunder for us. The loving heart of our God has been manifest and exposed to the world like never before. Who could doubt? Let us enter the Holy of Holies through his body, fully assured, with clear consciences, for He who calls us is the One who sent His Son to suffer and die for us. Rejoice! The path is before us, and it was cleared by our Lord.
But we must also hear the words of warning. Having come to faith in Christ, we’ve no reason to treat sin lightly. We of all people know how much it cost God, how much our salvation was worth to God. How dare any of us treat sin as if it were a trifle! We who believe never want to act in ways that “spurn the Son of God,” “profane the blood of the covenant,” and “outrage the Spirit of grace.” Instead, let us hold fast our profession and endure, that we “may receive the promise.” Judas betrayed the Lord and forfeited the promise; the woman who anointed Jesus persevered and received the promise. And both are remembered.