A Glimpse Behind The Curtain


…we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near…

…we hold to the hope that lies before us.  This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.

You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

One of the coolest things we get to be a part of as lovers of Jesus is unfortunately  one of the things I think we fail at the most. And that is, providing those around us with a “glimpse behind the curtain,” a “peak and taste” of the One who is our life and love. He who is in fact the One in whom we and all of creation lives and moves and has its being (Acts 17:25-28). No, I’m not advocating universalism or pantheism. But I am saying that the curtain which separated man from intimacy with God has been removed, granting to all men access to the most holy place through Jesus. And we are to be the instruments through whom the world comprehends this reality.

The Church excels in  bringing the world into the “outer courts.” We allow them to see the “place of sacrifice.” We also have no problem with providing them with the “rules and regulations” of worship. We are experts at spouting off our “code of ethics and morality.” But the disconnect lies in the fact that unless one sees behind the curtain, worship becomes ritual, and sin  devolves into some kind of “checklist.” We have become quite proficient in expounding on the “what” they must know, but provide few answers as to the “who” and the “why.” We come across (and portray God) as the proverbial parents who say, “You don’t have to understand. Just do as I say.” But it is only as we ourselves live life behind the curtain, encountering the essence, the energy the “ousia,” the love and holiness of our Abba God that we begin to understand and can subsequently (effectively) be the glory and the fullness of Him who fills all and all.thcnh86v2s

We must remember that as priests our function is not only to minister to the Lord, but to be a liaison between God and man. In Jesus, as we live by his Spirit, we are to be living pictures of the life God has offered to mankind. And as we with unveiled faces behold and reflect the glory of God, we “pull back the curtain” allowing those around us to see expressions of the grace, the mercy, the hope, and the love of God. It is behind the curtain that we realize that holiness is not merely “thou shalt” and “thou shalt not,” but rather the beauty and life of the One who is altogether “other than” and unlike anything else- the One who invites us to come and be like Him. And consequently, the world witnesses the True Light shining off of the faces of those who live life behind the curtain. As we grow in the Love of God and our understanding matures, we communicate the reality of Jesus in words not taught by the world, but by the Spirit. Abiding in the Vine, behind the curtain, we come to rely less on the carnal tree of the knowledge of good and evil and become more complete instruments of the power of God, revealing the good news about Jesus that pierces hearts and minds, that pulls back the veil allowing the people in our lives to see the truth behind the curtain.

Step right up ladies and gentlemen! It won’t cost you a dime!! Step right up, and be amazed as you see the awesome wonders that await you behind the curtain!!

Is anyone thirsty?
    Come and drink—
    even if you have no money!
Come, take your choice of wine or milk—
    it’s all free!
        Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength?
    Why pay for food that does you no good?
Listen to me, and you will eat what is good.
    You will enjoy the finest food.

Come to me with your ears wide open.
    Listen, and you will find life.

Preaching to Martians

          In Acts 17, we find what is commonly referred to as Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill. The more I read it, the more I am convinced that there is much we stand to learn about engaging our culture in these verses. (On a side note, my daughter recently told me that my posts tend to be rather lengthy, so, I’ll try to keep my observations short and sweet, and present my thoughts on this subject in a series of shorter articles.)

            Unfortunately, many Christians today take the Bible’s teaching of separating themselves from the world as an admonition to have nothing to do with those around them who are not followers of Jesus. We hide in our churches, put our kids in “Christian” schools, take our cars to “Christian” mechanics, use only “Christian” plumbers, and try desperately to patronize only Christian businesses. The surrounding culture to us is made up primarily of “Martians” we don’t understand and refuse to relate to. I think we’ve missed the mark here.

            In Acts 17, as Paul waited in Athens for the arrival for Silas and Timothy, we find him out and about amongst the “Martians.” Here was a man whose life was had been “separated” for Jesus and the preaching of the gospel, but he wasn’t hiding out. No, Paul interacted with the people, in the synagogues, and in the market place. He looked around, and the Bible tells us that as he saw the utter idolatry of the surrounding culture, he was provoked in his spirit. But this agitation of heart did not cause him to run and hide. He didn’t make banners that read, “God hates all Athenians.” He didn’t call for massive protests against the idolatry of the culture. No, being moved in spirit, he was moved to engage. The Bible tells us he “reasoned everyday with those who happened to be there.”

            We’ll look further into these verses, but for now, I just want to encourage you to make yourselves available to those around you. Remember my fellow aliens, while we may no longer be what we consider to be “Martians,” we are called to preach on Mars!