THE FINAL REALITY IS HERE - John Piper
Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister in the sanctuary, and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. —Hebrews 8:1–2
Christmas is the replacement of shadows with the real thing. Hebrews 8:1–2 is a kind of summary statement. The point is that the one priest who goes between us and God, and makes us right with God, and prays for us to God, is not an ordinary, weak, sinful, dying, priest like in the Old Testament days. He is the Son of God—strong, sinless, with an indestructible life. Not only that, he is not ministering in an earthly tabernacle with all its limitations of place and size and wearing out and being moth-eaten and being soaked and burned and torn and stolen. No, verse 2 says that Christ is ministering for us in a “true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.” This is the real thing in heaven. This is what cast on Mount Sinai a shadow that Moses copied. According to verse 1, another great thing about the reality which is greater than the shadow is that our High Priest is seated at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. No Old Testament priest could ever say that. Jesus deals directly with God the Father. He has a place of honor beside God. He is loved and respected infinitely by God. He is constantly with God. This is not shadow reality like curtains and bowls and tables and candles and robes and tassels and sheep and goats and pigeons. This is final, ultimate reality: God and his Son interacting in love and holiness for our eternal salvation. Ultimate reality is the persons of the Godhead in relationship, dealing with each other concerning how their majesty and holiness and love and justice and goodness and truth shall be manifest in a redeemed people.
In the Wizard of Oz, the wizard is a giant, frightening, floating head with a booming voice. He used the “lesser people” around him to get the things he wanted. In reality, the wizard was not a wizard at all but a small, weak, and scared man hiding in a control room, who ended up there because he could not even control his own hot air balloon. He wanted to hold on to the control of the people around him so they would not see who he really was. Often those who do not know God envision him in the same way. They may see a giant head barking orders and passing down judgements for the fun of it.
When Jesus came he literally and figuratively tore down the curtain exposing God and himself. They do not hide in shadows. What they build does not blow away in high winds. Jesus sits next to God on his throne not trying to control the “lesser people” but redeeming their relationships so everyone can approach his throne.
Christmas night was just the first step in his plan. What a brilliant plan. A reason for us to celebrate!