In the book of Hebrews, Jesus is no longer an itinerant Galilean preacher in the Judean countryside. Instead, He is the risen Messiah, reigning in heaven and “uphold[ing] the universe by the word of his power” (Heb 1:3). By the power of His death and resurrection, He sits at the right hand of the Father, eternally declaring the justification of the saints who are redeemed by His blood. He is no longer the man who stood in the Synagogue to read the scroll of Isaiah (Luke 4:16-21), but He is the fulfillment of all of Scripture and our Great High Priest who enters the heavenly throne room to intercede on our behalf (Heb 4:14-5:10). The shadow of former things has disappeared, and now the fullest reality and substance of those forward-looking shadows is present. It is Christ: sacrificed, risen, interceding, reigning.
During the Christmas season, we tend to spend most of our time looking backward. We look back towards Christ’s birth and incarnation, cherishing in our hearts the moment in time where God intervened in human history by putting on flesh. However, we live in limbo, in-between the time of Christ’s first coming and His majestic return. Fortunately, the Book of Hebrews meets us in the limbo of our present reality and offers us an eternal hope we cannot find within ourselves.
Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man.Hebrews 8:1-3
Though Christ is not physically here on earth with us, He is more present to us than we could ever imagine. This is because the heavenly temple, where Christ truly is, is more real than the physical things we experience every day. Hebrews even goes on to say that if Christ were on earth, He would not be a priest at all (8:4). Instead, Christ resides in the truest reality of the temple, interceding for us to the fullest measure, and He does so before the true throne of God. Where the temple was a mere shadow of these things to come, Christ now ministers in a truer and better temple before God himself.
If God feels distant, we must remember that Christ is in the heavenly Sanctuary on our behalf, a type of presence to us that defies what we might normally expect. It is here that we find comfort, knowing that Christ has drawn near to the throne of God so that we too have the
… confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.Hebrews 10:19-22
Through Christ’s intercession, we are eternally close to God, and He is eternally present to us.