40 Days to Jerusalem
The New Exodus Begins ‚Äì Day 18
Weekly Theme: The Exodus ‚Äì From Death to Life
Today‚Äôs Meditation: From Hell Bent to Heaven Bound
18 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19 to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20 because they could not bear what was commanded: ‚ÄúIf even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.‚Äù 21 The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, ‚ÄúI am trembling with fear.‚Äù
22 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, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:18-24)
Over the last 17 days, we have established that Jesus, the New and greater Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15 and 18), is leading His followers on a New and greater Exodus (Luke 9:31). The original Exodus was a ‚Äútype‚Äù or foreshadowing of the New Exodus. Remember the rule of typology ‚Äì the type is always surpassed by its fulfillment. While the original Exodus was vital to the Children of Israel, the New Exodus is even more important for followers of Christ. Israel was escaping bondage to Pharaoh and the Egyptians. Christians are escaping bondage to Satan, sin, death and hell! Israel was leaving behind drudgery. Christians are leaving behind damnation! Israel was bound for the Promised Land, Mount Zion and Jerusalem. Christians are also bound for the Promised Land, Mount Zion and Jerusalem only our destination is not located in the Middle East, but in heaven! The New Exodus surpasses the original Exodus in the old way of life it ‚Äúleaves behind,‚Äù and in its final beatific destination. Further, the New Exodus is founded on greater promises that form a new and everlasting covenant.
There is no question that bondage to Pharaoh was no picnic. Life was horrific in Egypt! At the time of Moses‚Äô birth, the first born sons of Israel were to be thrown in the Nile. Exodus 1:12-16 states, ‚Äú‚Ä¶the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites 13 and worked them ruthlessly. 14 They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly. 15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, 16 ‚ÄòWhen you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.‚Äô‚Äù Despite the fact that the midwives did not cooperate in murdering the little boys, life in Egypt was dreadfully difficult. Under the yoke of oppression, the people suffered greatly.
How much greater is the bondage suffered by those who are without Christ. They are, as the old saying says, ‚ÄúHell bent‚Äù! Jesus said, ‚ÄúMost assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin‚Ä¶‚Äù (John 8:34). Psalm 107:10-11 describe the plight of those who turn their backs on God. ‚ÄúSome sat in darkness, in utter darkness, prisonerssuffering in iron chains, 11 because they rebelled against God‚Äôs commands and despised the plans of the Most High.‚Äù For many, it seems their desire is to live a lie ‚Äì to deny the Truth ‚Äì and to ‚Äúhave it their way.‚Äù In John 8:32, Jesus said, ‚Äú‚Ä¶you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."Our culture is living a lie, convinced of our own self-righteousness and self-sufficiency. God is not needed. In the epic words of Bob Dylan, ‚ÄúYou gotta serve somebody.‚Äù If we do not love and obey the Lord, then we are enslaved by Satan!
What is the result of a life lived without Christ? John 15:1-2a offers us a very clear and unforgettable image. ‚ÄúI am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away‚Ä¶‚Äù Jesus continues in verse 6, ‚ÄúIf anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.‚Äù For those who choose to live apart from Jesus, they also choose to be cut off from the covenant family of God. The result is separation from God and ultimately to be ‚Äúthrown into the fire and burned.‚Äù For those who are ‚Äúhell bent,‚Äù the choice is clear ‚Äì ‚Äú‚Ä¶In Adam, all die. How devastating if there were no deliverer from this condition. But, 1 Corinthians 15:22 goes on, ‚ÄúIn Christ, shall all be made alive.‚Äù
It is out of the bondage to Satan, sin, death and hell that Jesus comes as the New Moses to lead a New Exodus. Romans 6:6 tells us that, ‚ÄúWe know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.‚Äù We are set free from sin when we die with Christ and are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life. The old way is buried, and a ‚Äúnew creation‚Äù is resurrected with and in Christ. ‚ÄúI have been crucified with Christ, therefore I no longer live, it is Christ who lives in me‚Äù (Galatians 2:20). When we are united to Christ, or similarly stated, when we are connected to Christ, we share His life, like the branch on the vine. John 15:4-5 states, ‚ÄúAbide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.‚Äù
But, how do we abide in the vine? Jesus says, ‚ÄúIf you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 ‚ÄòThis is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.‚Äô‚Äù Jesus is the perfect expression of love ‚Äì self-sacrificial love. In Jesus, we see the heart of the Father. It is to this love that we are called. As we travel through the wilderness of the New Exodus, we are to journey ever deeper into the love of God. This love should be expressed in irrepressible worship of the Triune God, and by living self-sacrificially toward others. 2 Peter 1:4 says, ‚Äú‚Ä¶he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature‚Ä¶‚Äù His nature is love!
What is the destiny of those who live according to Jesus teachings and follow Him in the New Exodus? Our Scripture reading for tonight from Hebrews 12 mentions two mountains. The first mountain is Sinai. It was there that Moses received the covenant instructions from God, and ratified the covenant with a sacrifice, the sprinkling of the blood of the covenant, and a meal. Mount Sinai is associated closely with the Old Covenant. That is not the mountain to which we have arrived.
There is a second mountain mentioned. It is Mount Zion, where many significant events occurred. As the High Priest, Melchizedek offered bread and wine to Abraham (Gen. 14:18-20). This is the mountain where Abraham nearly offered his son Isaac to be sacrificed (Gen. 22). This is the place where David purchased Araunah‚Äôs Threshing Floor for the building of the Temple (2 Sam. 24:18-24). This is the place where Solomon eventually built the Temple, where sacrifices were made, and was the place associated with God‚Äôs Presence. Finally, Zion is the place of Calvary ‚Äì where the ‚Äúonce for all sacrifice‚Äù took place, and it is the place of the empty tomb. This mountain is associated with the New Covenant. The earthly Zion, however, it is also not the mountain to which we have arrived. Where will those of us on the New Exodus arrive? ‚Äú‚Ä¶You have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.‚Äù Our eventual destination ‚Äì the New Exodus Promised Land, is nothing less than HEAVEN!! This is greater than any earthly city or region ‚Äì even Florida in the winter. Imagine, because of Jesus, we have gone from hell bent to heaven bound!
We conclude with this. The Covenant we are offered, like the New Exodus we are on, is far better than the old one. It is no longer mediated by sinful men. It is mediated by Jesus, Himself. Indeed, we have, ‚ÄúJesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.‚Äù Abel‚Äôs blood ‚Äúcried out‚Äù to God as a curse (Gen. 4:8-11)! Jesus‚Äô blood ‚Äúspeaks‚Äù to God as an advocate on our behalf ‚Äì not a curse, but a blessing! Apart from Christ are curses for those who are hell bent! But, in Christ and through His blood, we are HEAVEN BOUND!!
Prayer for Today
Praise God for sending Jesus to deliver us, to show us the Way, and to teach us to love ‚Äì self-sacrificially
Give thanks to Jesus for His faithfulness to complete His mission, even though it meant death on a cross
Ask the Holy Spirit to teach us that kind of self-sacrificial love
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any unconfessed sin
Repent, confess and ask the Lord for forgiveness
Receive His forgiveness
Ask the Lord to reveal to you someone who is currently cut off from God. Ask the Lord to give you strength to share the Gospel with them
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‚ÄúIf you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.‚Äù (John 8:31-32)