READ EXODUS 27
The outermost part of the Tabernacle was the courtyard. The courtyard was created as thick curtains were strung up on stakes, creating a wall of separation between common Israel territory and the Tabernacle courtyard.
Read Exodus 27:9-19. What was the courtyard for?
What occurred here?
How did people access the courtyard (and subsequently the entire Tabernacle)?
The courtyard was God’s invitation to the entire community of faith to come and enter into proximity to His presence. God was veiled in the Holy of Holies, but the courtyard was for men and women to come and learn and observe the ways of God.
But, there was a single entrance. There was a single gate by which they must enter.
What do you remember about the gate?
Why is the material of the gate significant?
What was embroidered on the walls of the courtyard?
The gate was narrow, and it led right into the courtyard with the bronze altar (more on this in a minute). And it was created with the same material as the Holy of Holies, reminding people that there was no way to access God’s presence but through holiness. Cherubim on the walls of the courtyard were a reminder to people that they could not gain access to God by unholy means. Just as the angel guarded the way back to the tree of life in the garden of Eden after the fall, the angels stood as a fierce reminder: you cannot hop these walls. You must go through the gate.
Read Exodus 27:1-8. What was the bronze altar for?
What occurred there?
Why was its location significant?
The gate led people into the courtyard, and squarely in front of them was the altar. This altar was the place sacrifices would be made, and it stood as a reminder to God’s people that sin leads to death. The death of animals was ever-present, and the stench of sacrifices would have consistently filled the courtyard. And the people were reminded that sin led to death, just as God had promised.
But God made another promise. A promise that one day One death would lead to life.
Read John 10:7-18. How is Jesus the truer and better courtyard gate and a truer and better altar?
Jesus Christ is the singular way by which we can approach God, precisely because He is the perfect sacrifice who laid His life down. Jesus Christ was not tied to the altar, as the animals for sacrifice were tied to the horns of the altar. But He laid His life down of His own accord. He became the final sacrifice for sin, the perfect substitutionary atonement.
Jesus Christ is our way to God. He is the narrow gate through which we pass by faith and the sacrifice that gains us access to God. When you and I wonder if we can “hop the fence,” skirting by on church attendance and good deeds we need only to look to the walls of the courtyard: the way to His presence is barred by nothing less than perfectly holy means. But glory to God! Jesus is the means! He is the perfectly holy One who offers us a way into God’s presence!
How do you see the Gospel in this?
How can you worship God in response this week?
PRAY & REFLECT
Praise God that He is perfectly holy. Praise Him for sending Christ to be the perfectly holy sacrifice for our sins. Thank Jesus for being the gate that leads you into God’s presence!