“For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups.” Ephesians 2:14-15
Today I was reading in Leviticus in my devotion time. All of a sudden what Jesus did for me hit me in a whole new way. Here I was reading verse after verse of purification rituals that had to take place in order for the Israelites to be considered clean in the Lord’s eyes. Chapter after chapter details the requirements for sacrifices to be made and the specific order things were to be done and disposed of. The things people had to go through just to be able to make their sacrifices and not be struck dead were incredible.
I began to feel a gratefulness for Jesus that I hadn’t felt before. I was raised in church so I knew that he died for my sins, rescuing me from the depths of hell. That is enough to be thankful for! But today was different as I recounted all the rituals I don’t have to go through to come into God’s presence. Because of Jesus I not only have been rescued, but have an openness to the Father that these I was reading about didn’t enjoy.
Too often I take for granted the ability to come to God through the blood of Jesus and hear from him, petition him, and learn of him. Many days I get too busy with good things to sit and read the Word and spend quiet time with God. I complain of my to-do list when the list of things the Israelites had to do just to have their sins forgiven makes my seemly long list, oh so short.
In that moment I felt the weight of what carrying the law must have felt like. Verse after verse, my heart began to sink farther and farther as being someone God could look upon seemed unattainable. Talk about an uplifting devotion time! But then I turned to the New Testament and read of Jesus fulfilling the law and releasing those in bondage of trying to work to be good enough to come to God. My heart rejoiced in a whole new way! Praise the Lord for Jesus Christ!
I fear that sometimes there are people like me that get caught up with the good things in life and before we know it we have forgotten the privilege of entering into God’s presence. Instead of praying and reading the Bible seeming like a joy and honor, it gets put on the to-do list of life along with many other things. It isn’t until we have an aha moment, like I did today, that we remember others before us that weren’t granted that privilege. I pray that we may feel a renewed gratefulness for this awesome privilege!
Father, forgive us for taking You for granted. Thank You for providing Your Son as a bridge to You. May You draw us into Your presence and help us see You in a whole new way. Amen.