Monday, June 15, 2009
Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die, once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. Hebrews 9:25-28
This is a great chapter on understanding the old covenant (the way the Jews were forgiven by God and cleansed of sin). The writer of Hebrews is making the connection between the old covenant and the new covenant, brought in by the sacrifice of Christ. There are similarities, but there are also major differences. The primary similarity is that, according to the law, "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Heb 9:22). The primary difference is that Jesus, unlike the high priest during the days of the old covenant, only had to shed blood once. His sacrifice brought forgiveness and cleansing once for all.
This is an amazing thing to ponder. No one could have predicted God's plan, but it is truly amazing. I marvel at the fact that God was giving a picture of sacrificial cleansing so long ago, which would one day be fulfilled with Jesus' death. A few months ago I preached a series on the Cross. One of my sermons was on the Day of Atonement. Hebrews 9 serves as a reminder of God's plan, but also connects the dots all the way to Christ.
Jesus, thank you for offering your life as the ultimate sacrifice for my sins. My only response is to offer my life up to you as an act of surrender and worship. May it be an acceptable response.