Read Hebrews 12: 14-29
The Queen of Mean, New York real estate billionaire Leona Helmsley, left $12 million to her pet dog, Trouble. The pampered pooch received the largest inheritance from Mrs. Helmsley’s will while some human members of Mrs. Helmsley’s family fared less well, with two of her four grandchildren cut out of the will entirely. The money for Trouble’s upkeep was left in the hands of her brother, Alvin Rosenthal, who inherited $10 million himself.
We’ve all heard stories of people losing their inheritance because they decided to live differently to the way their parents wanted them to. The threat is one based on fear. Fear is never a great motivator – sure it can work, but it doesn’t get to the heart of our issues.
In today’s passage we read of the inheritance that believers have. But it is not the inheritance itself that is the focus, but rather the way in which we come to inherit it.
Mount Sinai and Mount Zion are two real places. Mount Sinai is the physical earthly mountain where Moses met with God and ‘tremble[d] with fear’ because God is Holy, and Israel was not. Moses was scared that God might destroy Israel for their worship of the golden calf (Deut. 9:19). Mount Zion is the spiritual equivalent. It’s where God reigns. Whereas Moses and Israel had access to God on Mount Sinai (and they feared God’s holiness because they weren’t holy), we have access to God through the heavenly realms through the death of Jesus on the cross. Jesus has taken God’s wrath for our sin, so we can confidently approach the throne of God with ‘reverence and awe’ (verse 28).
Moses was Israel’s mediator. He stood before them and God on the top of the mountain. They feared God’s holy justice, but Moses and the mountain pointed forward (another sign!) to the perfect mediator on the true mountain. Jesus in the heavenly realms, mediates, by his sprinkled blood to the Father on our behalf. His blood is the perfect and better blood. Abel’s blood (remember from your reading of chapter 11) was a better sacrifice than Cain’s, but even though, it still cried for justice. It could not satisfy the wrath of God for sin. Jesus blood, however, shed on the cross was the better sacrifice for all, and it speaks of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Therefore God has brought us to a new covenant and better Mountain, one we do not fear, one we can touch, through the righteousness of His Son. He has called us to a Saviour. By His blood we have a great inheritance, one that cannot be shaken, one that will not be removed from us. It is the secure and final forgiveness of sins. His blood brings us to the Holy Mountain, where forever we will enjoy the glorious presence of our living God.
- Why does the writer juxtapose Mount Sinai with Mount Zion?
- Why is Sinai no longer the mountain on which Christians define their experience with God? On what basis do Christians now come to Zion?
- Why is Jesus’ blood superior to the blood sacrifice offered by Abel? Why does the author compare the blood offered by Abel with the blood offered by Jesus?
- How does the glorious picture of Zion in this passage help you endure in the faith? Why do you think the writer chose to use this picture to motivate his readers to endure until the end?
Father God, thank you for leading me to Mount Zion, where I can stand in your presence because of Jesus’ death in my place. Thank you that He has taken the punishment that I deserved. Help me to worship you in reverence and awe, not out of fear, but out of thanksgiving for what you have done. Amen.