Year B – Proper 26 – Hebrews 9:11-14

11But when Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come,then through the greater and perfect* tent* (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation),12he entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.13For if the blood of goats and bulls, with the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer, sanctifies those who have been defiled so that their flesh is purified,14how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit* offered himself without blemish to God, purify ourconscience from dead works to worship the living God!

Summary— Old Covenant priests went regularly into the first section of the tent, performing their ritual duties; but, into the second section of the tent only the high priest could go, and he only once a year, in order to offer blood for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people.  That first section of the tent/temple indicated that the way into the holy places was not yet opened: it was a symbol of the last age; but, that symbol was destroyed in AD 70, because Christ, with whom we are united, had entered once for all the heavenly Holy Place, of which the earthly holy place had been only a shadow.  Now, in Christ, there is opened to us the way into the Holiest Place.

Insight— If the blood of goats and bulls, with the sprinkling of an heifer’s ashes, can ritually sanctify flesh that had been ritually defiled, how much more can the blood of Christ—the Lamb without blemish—really sanctify consciences that have been really defiled!  The result of ritual sacrifice was ritually pure flesh; the result of Real Sacrifice is a really pure conscience, worshipping the living God!

Child Catechism—
Q:
What does the blood of bulls and goats, purifying flesh, point to?
A: The blood of Christ, purifying my conscience!

Discussion— What does it mean that the blood of Christ purifies your conscience?

Prayer— O God, Your Son, the final High Priest, entered though the greater and perfect Tent, once for all, into the Holy Place.  He did not do so with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood, and He thereby obtained eternal redemption for us.  Grant that we would always live according to the new state of our consciences: purified from dead works to worship the living God, through the sprinkling of the blood of Christ.  AMEN.

Contributed by Scott Cline

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