Friday, March 25, 2016
The Vision (3.25.16): Christ's More Excellent Ministry
Image: Scene from FRIM, Kuala Lampur, Malaysia
Note: Devotion based on last Sunday morning’s sermon on Hebrews 8:1-6.
Hebrews 8:1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; 2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
Hebrews 8:6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
Where is Christ now and what is he doing?
He is even now seated in session, ruling and reigning. He is exalted in heaven, seated at the right hand of God the Father. From that exalted placed he will come again to judge the living and the dead. We await the blessed hope of his return.
What can we gather of his activity from the Scriptural witness? We read of Christ now doing three things:
1. He is preparing a place for the saints:
John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
2. He is interceding for the needs of the saints.
Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
He is especially watching over and honoring those who lay down their lives for him, even as Stephen did (cf. Acts 7:55-56, the only passage in the NT wherein the exalted Christ is depicted as standing).
3. He is the great minister, the great liturgist [leitourgos], the great worship leader of heaven.
Recall the Messiah’s words:
Hebrews 2:12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
The worship he leads in heaven is new covenant worship. It is not worship based on the sacrifice of animals but upon the once for all sacrifice of the cross. It is this that elicits the praise of heaven and earth.
Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. 16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
The pastoral message to the Hebrews and to us: Do not trade the pure and true and authentic worship given us by Christ for the old, slavish worship of the past. Follow the direction of Christ’s more excellent and exalted ministry.
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle