Jesus is Reality

Hebrews 8:1-6

For the author of Hebrews, the supreme function of any priest is to remove the barriers between God and man. Jesus built a bridge across which man could go into the presence of God. The author of Hebrews gives us another way to look at this. William Barclay states, “Instead of talking about access to God we might talk about access to reality.”

The Real and the Unreal

The Hebrew author understood his audience. He presented his message in language and thoughts that would bring it home to the reader’s mind. During this time, the Mesopotamian culture had been very influenced by Greek thought. The Greeks had a basic thought about the universe. They thought in terms of two worlds, the real and the unreal. They believed that this world of space and time was only a shadow or copy of the real world. This came from the teachings of Plato. Plato was one of the greatest of all the Greek philosophers. He believed in what he called forms. He believed that somewhere beyond this world there was laid up the perfect forms of which everything in this world was a copy. Somewhere there is the idea of a perfect chair of which all actual chairs in this world are imperfect copies. Somewhere there is an idea of a perfect horse of which all actual horses are in adequate reflections. The Greeks were fascinated by this concept. In this world we walk in shadows; somewhere there is reality. The problem to be solved for the Greeks was how to pass from this world of shadows to the other world of realities.

The writer of Hebrews makes use of this Greek teaching in chapter 8 when he refers to the earthly temple as a “copy” of the real temple of God in Heaven. Earthly worship is a remote reflection of real worship; the earthly priesthood is an inadequate shadow of the real priesthood. All these things God gave to Moses as shadows that point beyond themselves to reality.

The author of Hebrews build on this idea by going back to Exodus 25:40 when God said to Moses, “And see that you make them after the pattern for them, which is being shown you on the mountain.”  The earthly priesthood, according to the author of Hebrews, is a shadow of the heavenly order. The earthly priesthood is unreal and cannot lead men to reality; BUT JESUS CAN. As believers, we say that Jesus leads us into the presence of God. To the Greeks, we would say, Jesus leads us into reality. The best this world can offer is still filled with imperfection. It never reaches what we know it could be. Nothing we ever experience or achieve here reaches the ideal that haunts us.

C.S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”  This is not to say that we won’t experience or can’t experience good and beautiful things this side of Heaven, but the fullness of our salvation is yet to be seen. The perfect is still yet to come. This is what we are waiting for. This is what the author of Hebrews has been encouraging us on towards. We press on to a an all satisfying reality. Only Jesus can lead us to it.

Jesus is the perfect mediator between the now and the not yet. Jesus stands between us and God. He opens the way to reality and to God, and is the only person who can bring reconciliation between man and God, between the real and the unreal. “In other words, Jesus is the only person who can bring us REAL LIFE.” -William Barclay

There is a scene in the book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe where the children hear Aslan’s name spoken for the first time. C.S. Lewis writes,At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in its inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of Summer.”

There is an enemy that would like us to think that this world is all there is. He would like us to think that the kingdom of God is just a make-believe dream. In Jesus, we find peace knowing that this world is not the end of the story. Beyond the struggle, the pain, and the heartache, there is a greater reality. One where there will be no more tears, no more sorrow and no more suffering. This is true reality. This is why the author of Hebrews encourages us so strongly to hold fast to our faith, because our faith is placed in an eternal reality that cannot be shaken.