Fr. Paul A. F. Castellano
Posted on April 27, 2019
Now that we are in the midst of the first full week of Easter Tide, I was reflecting on the relationship between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
Good Friday brought us face to face with the horror of the potential for lost hope and despair. Reflecting upon the historical context of that day, one agonizes with the disciples of our Lord. For them, not fully understanding His mission and message, all hope was seemingly lost; the excitement of a coming Kingdom, destroyed; the thrill of following David’s True Son, The Messiah, deflated in the course of 24 hours.
To see Jesus, laid in a tomb; to look at that massive stone sealing Him in – presumably for all eternity – would’ve crushed the spirit of anticipation of even the most ardent follower of Christ.
But this was necessary. For Jesus was the Kinsman Redeemer buying back a brother sold into slavery. So He could “… deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” (Heb. 2:15 ESV). He HAD to identify with us in this manner; He HAD to volunteer to traverse the market place of sin, slavery, and death; He HAD to shed His blood as our substitute, in order for His people to not be required to shed theirs. They didn’t make the connection between their earthly High Priest(s) and the True, Final, Eschatological High Priest. They lost sight of the:
Function of the High Priest to, once a year – every year, enter the Holy of Holies and sprinkle blood on the Mercy Seat.
The Holy of Holies is the most profoundly holy and significant place in the Tabernacle. The High Priest, systematically and carefully, would move through the various areas of the Tabernacle, as it symbolically represents the universe, until he arrives, again, only once a year, at the very Throne Room of the God of the universe.
The blood he sprinkles on the Mercy Seat, is seen by Yahweh and remains there, drying out, getting crusted, fading and is only cleaned on those sporadic occasions when the Children of Israel are commanded by Yahweh to, strike the Tabernacle, and move. This continues each and every year. Just once. And even this sporadic movement and cleansing of the Mercy Seat would cease upon erection of the Temple.
Death is constantly before the High Priest and the Children of Israel. Death is stalking us. Mocking us. Death glares at us when we, in our hubris, think we can out maneuver it. And in the end, Death has its way with us – UNTIL NOW!
As we saw on Good Friday, Jesus, the Eternal, Perfect, High Priest, took our place as a sacrifice on the cross. The payment to God was made. The demands of God were met. The sin that separated us from God was removed by Jesus’ voluntary sacrifice – there is now, no more barrier between God and man for Christs people!
The High Priest would drag his victim to the altar to take its life to pay for sin on behalf of God’s people.
Jesus voluntarily went to the cross – His altar – to give His life to pay for the sins of God’s people.
The High Priest had to enter the Holy of Holies, spotless lest he die and not complete the transactional payment for the sins of God’s people.
Jesus IS perfect and entered the TRUE Holy of Holies to secure the transactional payment for the sins of God’s people.
The High Priest entered the symbolic representation of God’s Holy Throne Room and then, after completing his sacrificial function, had to leave immediately; only to repeat this next year.
Jesus our “great high priest who has passed through the heavens,” (Heb. 4:14 ESV), ascended directly into the Throne Room of God His Father, completed HIS sacrificial function ONCE FOR ALL TIME and SAT DOWN at the Father’s right hand, never to leave or offer HIMSELF again as a sacrifice.
The High Priest could only sprinkle blood on the Mercy Seat, to be seen by Yahweh as He looked down from His lofty Throne; blood that would cake, dry, and fade.
Jesus, the True Mercy Seat, would shed His blood and then, as He ascended to the Heavenly Throne Room, would stand before the presence of His Heavenly Father so that the Father would see the perfect, spotless, blood of the once for all sacrifice of His Eternal Son – EVER BEFORE HIS GAZE – never to fade, never to dry, never to cake, NEVER TO BE OFFERED AGAIN!
The High Priest would face this cavalcade of death for as long as he breathed the air of sacrifice.
Jesus crushed this cavalcade of death forever because HE ETERNALLY BREATHES the air of the ONCE OFFERED SACRIFICE!
The High Priest presented his offerings for God’s people, the Children of Israel. Jesus presented HIMSELF as the offering for God’s people, the True Seed of Abraham, the True Children of Israel.
The High Priest could only enter the Holy of Holies once yearly.
Jesus’ home was the Holy of Holies – from all eternity – which He left for us, to return to the Holy of Holies never to leave again (save His second coming).
Because Jesus lives in the eternal Holy of Holies, His people, united to Him, indwelt by Him, grafted into Him, can now, “… come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16 KJG); to one day enter God’s presence forever.
Death, entombing the Son, had its last laugh on Good Friday, because without its knowing, The Eternal Son of the Father, would break the hold of Death, the chains of Death, the fear of Death, the power of Death by exploding out of that tomb and rising as the first of us all to eternal life – forever!
Alleluia, Alleluia, Christ the Lord is Risen!