#DailyDevotion What’s Actually Happening On Sunday Mornings
Hebrews 12: 18 You didn’t come to anything you could touch, to a blazing fire, darkness, gloom, a storm, 19the blast of a trumpet, or the speaking of a voice. Those who heard that begged to be told no more, 29because they couldn’t endure the order that was given: “Even an animal, if it touches the mountain, must be stoned.” 21 And the sight was so terrible Moses said, “I am terrified and trembling.” … 22No, you have come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. Here are tens of thousands of angels, 23the whole festival gathering and church of God’s firstborn people with their names written in heaven. Here is the judge and God of all. Here are the spirits of the righteous who have been perfected. 24And here is Jesus, the Mediator of a new testament, and the sprinkled blood that has better things to tell than Abel.
Hebrews recalls Israel’s reaction to the presence of God in the wilderness at mount Sinai. Gathered around the mountain the Lord’s presence fell upon it. Fire, darkness, gloom, the blast of a trumpet, and the very voice of the LORD speaking to the Israelites giving them the words of the covenant, it was too much for them. Even Moses who spoke to the LORD in the burning bush and who had regular conversations with him was taken aback. We simply cannot handle God in all his glory while we are still in this fallen flesh. You might recall Isaiah in his call fell down before the LORD confess his unworthiness and sin seeing the LORD of Glory.
Yet, you and I have come to something greater through faith in Christ Jesus. We have come to Mount Zion, the city of the Living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. This is the city and the Promised Land which last forever, promised by the LORD and spoken of by the prophets. This city is the Church, all those who have put their faith in the promises of God in both the Old and New Testaments. This is the place spoken of in the last chapters of Revelation. It is where God dwells with us his people by grace. It is the new heavens and new earth. Yet upon the earth which we shall inherit the Lord Jesus Christ shall dwell and reign and that make it heaven.
This place to which we have been gathered is inhabited by tens of thousands of angels who serve those whom the Lord Jesus has redeemed. It is written, Psa 104:4 “he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire.” While the Israelites cowered, we need not because we are standing in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and in his righteousness. Yes we come to this every time we gather for worship with all the saints of God in the name of Jesus Christ. As we gather for worship, we are gathering for the whole festal gathering and church of God’s firstborn people with their names written in heaven. Yes, church is a festal gathering, for when we gather, we receive the forgiveness of sins, we offer to the Lord our thanks and praise, we receive the festal sacrifice—the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, it is a time of celebration.
Not only that, but because the body of Christ is one, when we gather, we gather with those who have gone before us, the saints who have been perfected and with all believers in Jesus Christ. We gather with the judge and God of all who through the blood of Jesus declares us not guilty, righteous, holy and blameless.
When we gather together as the Church for worship, here is Jesus the mediator of a new and better covenant because it is based on what he has done for us. Yes, it is his blood sprinkled on us in baptism, given us in the Lord’s Supper, which speaks better than the blood of Abel. Abel’s blood cried out for vengeance. Jesus’ blood gives peace and pardon to all who have transgressed the law of God. The new covenant says I am your God and you are my people. I will forgive you your sins and remember them no more. This is what we hear and receive gathered around the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Merciful and gracious Father, always gather us around the blood of your son our Lord Jesus Christ, that we may receive remission of our sins, be in your presence with joy and thanksgiving and finally be perfected like the saints before us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.