In my book "GET REAL", I talked about the fact that only 10% of professing Christians engage a deliberate, routine devotional life; I went on to point out the startling companion statistic, that 100% of people who do spend time with God every day report radically positive results. I'm here this morning to report the absolute veracity of that truth in my personal day-to-day experience.
So I invite everyone, even the casual reader who just discovered this blog today, to join me as I continue my journey through Lent; the journey to the cross; the pathway to Easter; following Jesus one moment at a time.
"In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God" - Jesus (John 16:26-27)
Think "Priestly Tradition."
In Old Testament times, priests communicated to God on behalf of regular people; they were still doing this when Jesus came along. But even the priests could not handle the actual presence of God.
When Moses went up the mountain to speak with God he had to hide in a fissure in the rock so that, when God walked by behind him, he would not be struck dead by God's shadow passing by. Then, when he returned to the Israelite camp, the people couldn't stand to see the residual evidence of God's glory shine from their leader's face. So Moses had to wear a veil in order to protect them.
How complicated was that! It's like a reflection of the Moon's borrowed light somehow remaining on another surface well after the sun has actually gone down for the night. Still, it was too much for the children of Israel and so they hid.
So now along comes Jesus:
- "No," the Master says, "you do not need an intermediary any more if you want to access the Father. I'm not even saying that I will have to ask the Father on your behalf; you can just go ahead and talk with God directly. Use my name as a good introduction - that much is very important - but go ahead and do your own asking."
That is one amazingly remarkable truth! Direct access to the Living God.
Of course, that's exactly what God had intended all along. Back in the garden, after Adam and Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit, it was they who hid themselves behind some bushes and away from God's presence. When God walked in the garden - in the cool of the day - he expected to be able to dialog with his children - a little tête-à-tête with the people he loved so deeply. God was disappointed when he found they had driven a wedge between themselves and the relationship they were created to enjoy.
Because of Jesus we can walk with God in the garden once again in the cool of the day. What a wonderful privilege.
The time was coming when Jesus would tell them plainly about everything. That time was his death. The most direct and unequivocal message is Christ's eloquent sacrifice, and the result is the redemption of promise, a new relationship with the Father.
PRAYER: No more veil. Lord, we are humbled by our admission into your presence. Sometimes I wish that we would glimpse more of your glory than we can reasonably handle. Surprise us, Lord. Amen