“For if He were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things…” (Hebrews 8:4-5a)
What’s the matter?
In other words, were Jesus still here on earth (like, the way He was prior to dying), He would be, like, a celestial or mystical bridge to the Father–a direct line or portal, in other words. Actually, that just sounds wrong. And I’m being partly facetious. Look at the rest of the passage. There are still symbolic acts taking place with regards to the “priests that offer gifts according to the law.” Remember: “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.” (Hebrews 10:4) And so Jesus dies and rises again and ascends to Heaven. Tangentially speaking, He tells the disciples in John’s Gospel “for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.” (16:6-7) So there’s that. I don’t mean (or want) to compartmentalize and/or shun the Holy Spirit (the Comforter). He figures into the point I’m trying to make majorly, in a moment. But look at the reason Jesus had to leave. Because He was the sacrifice. And now that He has arisen, the necessity has…dematerialized.
Is anything “the matter”?
“And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” (Acts 10:15)
Forgive me. Firstly, here’s five dollars for the word (it now is one, by the way). Secondly, it’s simply an adjective meaning “of or pertaining to matter”. Reason why we need a new word to wrap around the concept is because the whole stuff has now been redeemed by Christ. That He would be sinless in spirit (“When as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 1:18) and work out that holiness and perfection into the natural world is what it took to wrest the Creation back from a never-ending spiral of atrophy and apoptosis. And here’s where the Holy Spirit enters the picture. It’s still “appointed unto men once to die…” (Hebrews 9:27). Holding up the matter that is our bodies as the earth crumbles for lack of care is pointless. Again, forgive me for pointing to the utopian escape of Heaven. But if your mind goes there in solace, you’ve missed the whole point. Because the matter at hand is Christ. He is the focal point. The opening words of the eighth chapter of Hebrews are as follows:
“Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.”
See, He did all He did for you. He lived your life. He’ll give it (and His) to you as a gift if you ask.