A Heavenly Priesthood
Open Your Bible
Hebrews 8:1-6, Zechariah 6:12-13, John 10:14-18, Romans 11:33-36, Romans 12:1-2
BY Guest Writer
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 8:1-6, Zechariah 6:12-13, John 10:14-18, Romans 11:33-36, Romans 12:1-2
In college, I visited a monastery built on the side of a cliff. To get there, we traveled to a remote location in central China on a bus that swayed along treacherous roads. I refused to look out the window for the majority of the drive because I was certain my gaze would draw us down to the canyon below. But soon enough a series of brown tapered roofs came into focus, hanging from the side of the mountain like an ancient rock climber with a strong grip.
To this day, Xuan Kong Monastery—also known as “the Hanging Monastery”—is one of the most interesting places of religious worship I’ve ever visited. Built 1,400 years ago, the walls and floors creaked with every step. My sense of awe may have actually been fear as I walked the narrow hallways, worried that at any moment the whole thing might crumble to the ground.
Not too long ago, I read through a She Reads Truth study called See the Lord’s Salvation: A Lenten Study of Exodus, where I studied the God-given plans for another remarkable place of worship, one designed to honor God and built by His chosen people, the Israelites. (Go back to this study of Exodus to see the deep and intricate meaning of each detail in those plans.) But no matter how beautiful the tabernacle might have been, it was a human creation, a copy and a shadow of what was in heaven (Hebrews 8:5). Just like the Hanging Monastery in China, the tabernacle was fragile.
Our churches and pastors and priests today are weak too. The walls creak. The leaders fail. Sometimes it feels like the sanctuaries do nothing more than remind us of our need. If that’s all they do, I’m okay with that. I need a better priest than the best on earth. I need a better temple.
Here’s what’s amazing. “The true tabernacle set up by the Lord” (v.2) isn’t a destination with walls and nails. It is a communion we have with God in our hearts. For we are God’s temple and the Spirit of God lives in us (1 Corinthians 3:16–17). And Jesus, our High Priest and Good Shepherd, “is the mediator of a better covenant, which has been established on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6).
Jesus is the kind of priest we need in a better sanctuary than we could ever build. He takes us with all our heartsickness, sin, and need, and gives us access to the Father. In that secret room, the one in our spirit, our Father waits, ready to meet with us.
Claire Gibson is a writer whose work has been featured in publications including The Washington Post and Entrepreneur Magazine among many others. An Army kid who grew up at West Point, New York, Claire is currently growing roots in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, Patrick, their son, Sam, and their dog, Winnie. Her debut novel, Beyond the Point, will be published next year.