The Book of Hebrews seeks to connect the Jews living under the old covenant to the new covenant ushered in by Jesus Christ. In today’s passage the author explains that the old way of animal sacrifices only cleans that outside of a person but that through the new sacrifice, through the blood of Jesus, we are cleansed on the inside. We are reminded that we are cleansed so that we can serve the living God.
Throughout Hebrews is this idea of ‘living’. We are exhorted to have a living faith that is guided by the Spirit and not bound by manmade rules and laws. Living by the Spirit can feel dangerous and wide-open. Living by religion can feel safe and known. But too often ‘religion’ is typified by rigid practices, by entrenched traditions, and by requirements that feel a lot like laws. Like sheep tightly confined to a pen, religion asks one to go through the motions, to check off the boxes. Religion becomes little more that Sunday worship and an occassional prayer.
By contrast Hebrews call us out of our old ways of living by religion and into new way of living by faith. Faith is guided by the Spirit. The Spirit moves in unexpected and surprising and unknown ways. For typically neat, in-the-box people, this is scary. Religion with its known boundaries is safe. Jesus did not call us to religion, but to faith.
When Jesus sais, “Come, follow me”, He did not say where or how or when. He simply said, “Come.” He knew that the Spirit would lead. May we each step out, take ahold of the hand of the Holy Spirit, and see where Jesus takes us today.
Scripture reference: Hebrews 9: 11-14