The Final Sacrifice
Note: Today’s reading is Hebrews 9.
Imagine being a kid in Israel watching the sacrificial system in action. Dad wants to show his devotion to God? A bull from the herd goes missing and dad comes home with blood on his clothes. Mom has a dispute with a friend? A bird from the flock is taken to the temple, never to return. Uncle Joe gets caught in some unethical business dealings? Cousin Sally’s favorite lamb is on Uncle Joe’s shoulders as he walks to the temple with his head hung low. Dad accidentally damaged the neighbors house while working the land? A ram is taken to the temple.
Imagine being in the crowd on the day of atonement. The big beautiful bull is brought forward and killed. You wait anxiously as the hight priest takes some of the blood into the innermost place in the temple. You, nor any of your friends have ever been in this place. It is where God’s presence is and only the High Priest is allowed and only with blood. You are excited when he comes out alive, God has accepted this offering from His people.
All this was in place to remind you and your people that you belonged to a holy God. A God who did not simply ignore sin, but instead made a way for sin to be paid for. You knew a sacrifice had to be made for you to be accepted before God. But you aren’t are a kid in Old Testament Israel are you? You serve the same God, but by a new and better sacrifice. Hebrews says it like this:
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
No more sacrifices because Jesus is your sacrifice. No wondering, hoping, praying that God would accept the best animal sacrifice you have. Instead, confidently trusting the perfect sacrifice of Jesus because of the sure testimony of his resurrection. The sacrifice has been paid friend. You are accepted in Jesus Christ. Not only that, you now have access to God himself in a better way than even the High Priest. We’ll explore that more tomorrow.