For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one, but he entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.
Are you a bit eccentric? I am not asking if you are sometimes a little kooky, nutty, or odd (I confess to those myself). Rather, I am asking if you’re eccentric in the original sense of the word: “off center” (Greek: ek “out of” + centron “center”) in your life.
We once had a washing machine that was sometimes eccentric, off-center. No sooner would it begin its spin cycle than the machine would begin vibrating, dancing a gig. Then my wife would have to rush to the machine and “recenter” its load of clothes.
I frequently need to recenter my life by putting Christ in the rightful center of my thinking and doing. In his book, Christ Is the Center, Dietrich Bonhoeffer speaks of recentering as the Christian’s frequent need. Bonhoeffer writes of becoming “off center”, eccentric, when we focus on the HOW of the Christian life and not the WHO, i. e., Christ! If we put the WHO at the center then the HOW falls supernaturally in place.
Fortunately, the Bible never leaves us guessing as to the WHO, the Center of everything! Take the apostle Paul, for example, who says “For me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21); “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:2). As Paul focused on the WHO the HOW followed.
I often like to think of Jesus as the WHO beautifully portrayed in the Old Testament typology of Israel’s high priest acting on behalf of all the people. On the Day of Atonement, the high priest gathers to himself all the sins of the people and carries them into the Holy of Holies. There, in the very presence of God, the high priest acts “on behalf of” and “in the place of” the people while they only watched and waited.
John Calvin focuses on our High Priest, Jesus, as the WHO in his commentary on today’s Hebrews’ text It is all about Christ acting in our place:
“For the high priest entered the holy of holies, not in his own name only, but also in that of the people, inasmuch as he bore in a manner the twelve tribes on his breast and on his shoulders…so that in the person of one man all entered into the sanctuary together. Rightly then does the Apostle speak, when he reminds them that our high priest entered into heaven; for he has not only entered for himself, but also for us.”(John Calvin, Commentary on Hebrews, emphasis added)
Today, Jesus stands before God on our behalf, acting for us, offering our lives, prayer, worship and service to the Father. It is always about Jesus and not about us. Because Jesus is the WHO of Christian living, the HOW falls into place.
The same author of the Book of Hebrews coaches us on the HOW: “Looking to Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). We stay focused on the Center, on Jesus, who got us started in our faith, the One WHO will complete it! We dare not become “eccentric” or “off-centered” by focusing on us. At this moment Jesus appears “in the presence of God on our behalf.” It’s all about Him!
A fellow traveler,