‘But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly’ – Hebrews 12.22From Sam Lomas:
Can I encourage you to read Hebrews 12.18-24 before going any further. The author of Hebrews sets out an amazing contrast between the old and new covenants (relationship between humankind & God). We get a graphic description of both. As you read these verses, an overwhelming emotion you may feel is that of awe!
Firstly, in v18-21, awe-full fear in remembering how God’s presence once came upon Mount Sinai in such a way that even Moses said, ‘I am trembling with fear.’ Secondly, awe-full thanksgiving for the new way of relating to God – by Jesus – the mediator of the new covenant.
The two scenes depicted are very different. I am thankful that as a follower of Jesus, I come to the latter (Mount Zion) as opposed to the former (Mount Sinai). Here are two short reflections on this passage:
1) Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross really … really … is amazing. In verse 24 we see Jesus’ blood being better than ‘the blood of Abel.’ The reference to Abel here speaks of his blood, shed by his brother in the act of murder – an action that would lead to vengeance and judgement. But the blood of Jesus shed on the cross is the opposite. Jesus’ blood ushered in the new covenant by procuring pardon, peace, reconciliation, and redemption for God’s people. As you read this passage, allow the contrasting realities to come home to you. Allow the awe-full thanksgiving to overcome you.
2) Through Jesus we come to God in a new and better way. But the passage doesn’t end there. Instead, we see further insights into what is happening in the spiritual realm when we come to the Lord. I’m amazed that when you and I come to God now, we do so joining with ‘thousands of angels in joyful assembly.’ This means that on Sundays when we gather for worship, or during the week in our home groups, we are joining with a spiritual world, hidden from our view, that is enormous! So, the next time you gather to worship God, remember that you are joining with thousands of angels. You are not one voice in a group of 7 or 8 people. Or one voice in a gathering of 70 – 80 people. No, you are one voice in a group numbered in the thousands. Wow!