You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm. . . . But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.
In the Old Testament, it was not unusual for people to be terrified and in awe of God’s presence. For example, in Exodus 20:18-19, “when the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.’” The people were afraid because they knew they were sinful and that God is holy and awesome, with power beyond imagining.
The book of Hebrews helps to explain the significance of Jesus’ death for our sake. When Jesus died on the cross, he experienced the same separation from God that so terrified Israel. By paying for our sins and reconciling us to God, Jesus cut through that darkness forever. The terror of being in God’s presence is no longer there because we can approach God through Christ, the one he loves and accepts.
Hebrews urges us to approach God at any time. Through Jesus, God made himself accessible to all people, regardless of their situations or circumstances. God loves us all, and he is ready to give grace to anyone who comes to faith through his Son.
Father in heaven, thank you for providing the way for us to come to you—through Christ, the one and only Savior. Help us to live for you always. In Jesus, Amen.
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