The Inner Sanctum is Now Public!

Each year the most hallowed of tennis championships is held at Wimbledon.  In the late afternoon of each tournament day, you can buy a ticket that will get you into one of the outer courts for about $8.00.  You probably won’t recognize most of the competitors, since the higher seeded players are usually found on one of the center courts.  It takes a special ticket for those center courts–one that is more expensive and more limited in number.  Even fewer people get to go into the locker rooms–a very select few.

In the Temple, there were different levels of access.  Paul reminds the Gentile believers that they were about as far apart from God as they possible could be.  Ephesians 2:13 says, “Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought to Him through the blood of Christ.”  When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain shielding the Most Holy Place was torn in two–from top to bottom as is God reached down from Heaven and ripped it apart.

If that were all that happened, it would be like inviting those at center court to visit the locker rooms.  That would be wonderful for the privileged few, but would only increase the frustration and resentment of the those who remained outside.  Paul reminds us that Jesus did much more in Ephesian 2:14. “He himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.”  It wasn’t just a curtain that came down.  All the walls of separation came down.  All the divisions of privilege, rank, race, age, and gender came down, and equal access to God was opened up to all through Jesus Christ.  No matter how far away from God you may be, there is always a straight, unveiled path to God free from all barricades.

How contagious are you?

Picture in your mind this scene from Mark 1:40-45…a man suffering from leprosy is approaching Jesus.  His disease is highly contagious and has left him with skin, muscles and bones simply sloughing off his body.  The treatment of the day was simply to isolate those with the disease.  It’s possible that no one had touched him in years.  Yet Jesus reached out and touched him and healed him.  He was not infected by the man’s leprosy.  Jesus was more “contagious” with the power of God than the leper was contagious with his leprosy.

While no Christian should be surprised by what Jesus did in this story, what we should be asking ourselves is, “Am I that kind of contagious Christian?”  And, if not, why not?  Have I ruled out some people–sure that they would resist the “Good News”?  Can I honestly believe that some are so far from God that there is no hope of salvation for them?  Jesus reached out to tax collectors, lepers, Gentiles–all kinds of sinners that the established religion of the day had given up on.  Romans 10:14 asks, “How can they hear, unless someone tells them?”  Talk to those members of your family, the people you work with, the waitress at your favorite restaurant, the person who cuts your hair, people at your health club, your neighbors.  Talk to them to develop a relationship.  People are more apt to listen to someone who they trust.  Be the hands and feet of Jesus and do what He did–befriend people who don’t know God.  Never rule out anyone.  You never know when their heart will soften or how God’s Spirit will work.  When you extend your hand to someone else, you continue the process begun two thousand years ago by believers who reach out and bring people to Christ.