We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat. Hebrews 13, verse 10.
My Concordia reference explains this verse by saying this verse refers to the cross (the true altar), “which marked the end of the whole Aaronic priesthood and its replacement by the order of Melchizedek. The priests could not eat of the sacrifice on the Day of Atonement but we can partake of our sacrifice, so to speak – through spiritual reception of Christ through faith. We have a higher privilege than the priests under the old covenant had.”
In the days of the ancient priesthood, the high priest was the only representative between the people and God. He and only he was allowed certain privileges in how worship was conducted. Priests were provided with free food out of the stock brought to the Lord and thus were very well fed. Yet on the Day of Atonement, the day when the high priest went before the Mercy Seat of God to ask for atonement of the peoples’ sins, the priest was not allowed to consume any part of the sacrificed lamb. He sprinkled its blood on the altar, and the remainder of the sacrifice was taken outside the Israelite camp and burned until nothing was left.
When Christ volunteered to die for your sins, He removed the need for the Old Testament system of sacrifices. Ritual animal sacrifice as a substitution for an atonement was replaced by the real sacrifice of the pure blood of God Himself, who made atonement needing no ritual, animal, or substitution. What’s more, we who believe in Him partake of this sacrifice – and thus of Him – in many ways simply by believing. Our faith in Jesus is the food that feeds the soul, and feeding on the love of Jesus removes need for anything else.
Pretty tough stuff to comprehend, right? Then let’s try it another way. Translation: you don’t need a go-between to get to God. You get to consume time and the essence of your Savior in person, one on one. Your faith in Him removes all obstacles between you and Him.
You and I, as followers of Jesus, don’t need a high priest to sprinkle blood on the Ark of the Covenant. We don’t need a priest to slaughter an animal in our place. We don’t need to follow the intricate, ancient rituals of old to make ourselves righteous before God again. And we don’t need to wait until just one day in a year for someone else to take our case before God. Even as a believer, some religions still insist a priest is necessary to intermediate between you and your God. Yet the Bible says this simply isn’t true.
Right here, right now, wherever you are, you GET TO commune with Jesus one on one. He came to you; you don’t have to go to Him. He meets you from within, and your saying “I believe” puts your faith in Him. In doing so, you accept that He did everything possible and necessary to make you right before God again. You have communion with Him and share in His death and resurrection right now, today, in this very moment, and all the time. When you periodically observe Holy Communion, you get to remember Him further, in different ways, partaking in elements that point us directly to Him as the true Spiritual food. Right here, right now you get to go to the altar of the cross and lay down your sins, lay down your successes, lay down your pride, lay down everything you have and are and love, and submit it all to Jesus. In return, He guides you as friend, Savior, and fellow, and says “I’ve made it right for you.” You don’t need me or anyone else to tell him on your behalf or to sacrifice for you. He did it all and you and I get to each meet Him where we are. Right here, right now.
For further reading: Hebrews 8:5, 1 Corinthians 9:13, 1 Corinthians 10:18.
Lord, I praise You for doing everything needed in faith. For loving me enough to die and rise for me. I praise You for being the food my soul needs to thrive and the true living water to quench my eternal thirst.