Hebrews 10:19-20,“19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,”
The author of Hebrews has labored to teach us that Jesus is our Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16). He is able to save us to the uttermost because He always lived to intercede for us (Hebrews 7:25). His once-for-all sacrifice was sufficient to pay for the penalty of our sins (Hebrews 10:14). In light of all of this, he is moving into the realm of application, as is signaled by the word “therefore.” In other words, why does it matter that Jesus is our High Priest? What should we do with this information?
According to the author, we now have “confidence” to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus. That is absolutely remarkable. Consider that the holy of holies could only be entered once per year under the Old Covenant by only the high priest after an elaborate set of ritual cleansings (Leviticus 16). Yet because of “the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,” every believer in Jesus has permanent access to God through Him. Jesus has torn the veil once and for all so that everyone who trusts in Him has “access by faith into this grace by which we stand” (Romans 5:2). I want to apply this concept of “confidence to enter God’s presence” in two areas: Prayer and worship.
First, our having access to God through Jesus is an invitation to prayer. The idea of having access to God in prayer should never be something that we allow ourselves to take for granted. Imagine for one moment if you could have access to anyone on the planet for any amount of time that you’d like. Perhaps you’d call a political leader, your favorite author, a movie star, or a professional athlete. Imagine how incredible it would be if you could ask them anything you wanted, tell them whatever was on your mind, and hear what they have to say. Now consider this: If you are in Christ, you have permanent access to the Lord of heaven and earth. You can come before Him with boldness to find grace to help in times of need (Hebrews 4:16). You have access to the most important person in the universe 24/7. And not only do you have access; He loves you and desires for you to cast all of your cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7). What an incredible privilege we have, to be God’s beloved children with access to our Heavenly Father whenever we please. This is an incredible encouragement for us to be diligent in prayer.
Second, it is an encouragement to worship. Our access to our Creator in prayer and worship is only through Jesus Christ. He is the One who made “a new and living way” by which we can come to God. I’ve had the immense privilege of being a worship music leader for more than a decade, and I’ve often heard people in the church refer to leading musical worship as “leading people into the presence of God.” While I understand the intent behind that sentiment, I think that this passage is teaching us that it is Jesus alone who can lead us into the presence of God. He is the only mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus Himself is the “new and living way” for us to come to God. Because of this, when we worship God as His gathered church on the Lord’s Day, we do so because Jesus has made a way for us to enter into God’s presence by His blood. Therefore, on Sunday morning, it is not my role to lead people into God’s presence; only Jesus leads us into God’s presence. My job is to point to Him.
Jesus has opened up a new and living way for us to enter into God’s presence by His flesh. In light of this, how diligent and passionate we ought to be in prayer! How seriously we ought to take corporate worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ on the Lord’s Day. I’d encourage you to take some time today, reflecting on the immense privilege that we have in access to God through Jesus and meditate on how you can spend some time before the throne of grace today.