Summer is here — “both days”! Imagine spending the day at O’Brien Park, kids playing by the river. Everyone is having a good time. Towards evening you gather everyone up and head back to town. On the way back, you realize that the hot dogs you had in the park are not cutting it – everyone is hungry. Your wife gives you that knowing look – do something! It will not help to tell her to make supper quickly when you get home and might significantly reduce my life expectancy! So let’s eat out – and live – so under the golden arches on Highway 40 we go. As you order, you realize that everyone is absolutely filthy. What looked good enough in the dim light at the park now looks disgusting in the light of civilization.
It reminded me of Isaiah 6. He had the same experience. He was God’s prophet, who saw the Lord high lifted up and the train of His robe filled the temple. In the gleaming light of the presence of a perfect, Holy God Isaiah comes face to face with his own true spiritual condition.
We can only see our sinfulness when we see God’s Holiness. As long as we can compare ourselves to others, we come out looking pretty good. There is always someone worse than we are. But Isaiah’s words, “Woe is me, I am undone” are the normal result of sinful man in contact with a Holy God. Exodus 3: 6 tells us that Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God. Luke 5:8 tells of Peter falling down at Jesus’s feet and crying out, “Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man”.
The temple of Isaiah’s day had two rooms. The priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry out ministry. This was called the Holy Place. But only the High Priest entered into the second room – the Holy of Holies, once a year and never without blood offering for himself and for the sins of the people. A veil separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Temple, which in Herod’s temple was sixty feet (just under twenty metres) high, and about 10 centimetres (4 inches) thick.
The size and thickness of the veil makes the events at the moment of Jesus’s death on the cross so much more momentous. Matthew 27:50 says, “And when Jesus cried out in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the veil of the temple was to
rn from top to bottom”. Jesus’s death on the cross was a sufficient atonement for sin, and made the way into the Holy of Holies literally open to all people Hebrews 10:19 tells us, “Since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain that is His body”.
We come to the Communion Table to celebrate this once and for all sacrifice Jesus made on the cross to give us direct access to the presence of God. This slide shows how the Grade Three Sunday School class had the best handle on the topic – Paid in Full.
On the night he was betrayed, Jesus took bread, after giving thanks he broke it and said, “This is my body given for you, do this in remembrance of me”. In the same way, after supper he took the cup saying, “This is the new covenant in my blood; do this whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me”.
This is the New Covenant, summed up: “Paid in Full”.
A communion meditation shared by Les Tunky