Reading: Hebrews 12: 18-24
Hebrews 12 offers a new perspective on God. The God embodied in Jesus is the same God whose voice can thunder and who can be terrifying. God is unchanging. What changes or evolves is our understanding of God. Stand at the window and watch and listen to the power in a magnificent thunderstorm. Witness God’s voice booming! Sit with a family that has just lost a loved one who they think was not saved, witness the unspoken questions and fear. Consider the conviction we feel when we sin. We quickly repent and seek forgiveness so that we are back in God’s love and away from the terrifying feeling of being outside of God’s love.
Through Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit we experience God differently. God is now more personal, more easily accessed. Jesus and the Holy Spirit function as more open conduits to heaven and God’s love. In Jesus the man we saw the living God, first on earth and now in heaven. Hebrews reminds us that Jesus is “the mediator of a new covenant” where grace and forgiveness comes through His blood sacrificed on the cross. It is a free gift to us all. It costs us nothing. What a change in the previous relationship! Jesus is also the mediator that stands between us and God and with the Holy Spirit intercedes for each of us. This is what has changed, not God.
Faith and our response to it has also changed significantly. Before Christ’s time on earth, faith in God was seen as an exclusive thing. Either you were part of God’s chosen people, or you were not. Jews were in, everyone else was out. Faith led the Jews to care for one another, to live a life of obedience to God’s ways, and to worship God alone. Jesus changed who was in the circle. Through Jesus, all people are chosen people. There are no limits or exclusions to the new covenant. There is now no Jew or Gentile, no slave or free, … We are to be Jesus’ hands and feet, loving all people with a servant’s heart. We are to be Jesus’ voice, offering the good news to all peoples of all nations, ever working to expand the circle, ever seeking to build the kingdom here on earth.
What role shall we play today? How will we each be a part of widening the circle, of helping another to step inside so they too can know God’s love?