Jesus - the better sacrifice

464 Jesus the better victimJesus came to Jerusalem one last time before suffering, where the people with palm branches made a solemn entrance for him. He was ready to give his life as a sacrifice for our sins. Let us look more closely at this amazing truth by addressing the letter to the Hebrews, who shows that the high priesthood of Jesus is superior to the Aaronic priesthood.

1. Jesus' sacrifice takes away sin

By nature, we humans are sinners, and our actions prove it. What is the solution? The sacrifices of the Old Covenant served to expose sin and point to the only solution, to the perfect and final sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus is the better sacrifice in three ways:

The need for the sacrifice of Jesus

"For the law has only a shadow of the goods to come, not the very nature of the goods themselves. Therefore, those who sacrifice can not be made perfect forever, since one must make the same sacrifices every year. Otherwise, would not the sacrifice have ceased, if those who were attending the service had become clean once and for all, and no conscience had been made over their sins? Rather, all that happens is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible to take away sins through the blood of bulls and goats "(Heb. 10,1-4, LUT).

The laws of God governing the sacrifices of the Old Covenant were in place for centuries. How can the victims be considered inferior? The answer is that the Law of Moses had only "a shadow of future goods," not the very nature of the goods themselves. The sacrificial system of the Law of Moses (the Old Covenant) was a model of the sacrifice that Jesus would offer for us The Old Covenant was temporary, had no lasting effect and was not intended to do so.The repetition of the sacrifices day by day and the Day of Atonement year after year reveals the inherent weakness of the whole system.

Animal sacrifices could never completely take away human guilt. Although God promised forgiveness to the believing sacrifices under the Old Covenant, this was only a passing cover of sin and not the removal of guilt from the hearts of men. If that had happened, the victims would not have had to make any additional sacrifices that served only as a reminder of sin. The sacrifices made on the Atonement Day covered the sins of the nation; but these sins were not "washed away", and the people received from God no inner witness of forgiveness and acceptance. There was a need for a better sacrifice than the blood of bulls and goats, which could not take away the sins. Only the better sacrifice of Jesus can do that.

The readiness of Jesus to sacrifice himself

"That's why he speaks when he comes into the world: sacrifices and gifts you did not want; but you have prepared a body for me. Fire victims and sin victims do not like you. Then I said: Behold, I come - in the book is written by me - that I do, God, your will. First he said, "You did not want sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings, and sin-offering, and you do not like them," which are sacrificed according to the law. But then he said, "Behold, I come to do your will." He picks up the first one so he can use the second one "(Hebr 10,5-9 LUT).

It was God, not just any human being who made the necessary sacrifice. The quote makes it clear that Jesus himself is the fulfillment of the sacrifices of the Old Covenant. When animals were sacrificed, they were called sacrifices, while sacrifices of the fruits of the field are called food and drink offerings. They all symbolize the sacrifice of Jesus and reveal some aspects of his work for our salvation.

The phrase "one body you have prepared for me" refers to Psalm 40,7 and is quoted as "the ears opened to me." The phrase "open ears" stands for willingness to hear and obey God's will gave his son a human body so that he could fulfill the will of the Father on earth.

Twice God's displeasure with the victims of the Old Covenant is expressed. This does not mean that these sacrifices were wrong or that sincere believers did not benefit. God does not enjoy the sacrifices as such, except for the obedient hearts of the victims. No amount of sacrifice can replace an obedient heart!

Jesus came to fulfill the will of the Father. His will is for the New Covenant to replace the Old Covenant. Jesus, through his death and resurrection, "lifted" the first covenant to use the second. The original Judaeo-Christian readers of this letter understood the meaning of this shocking statement - why go back to a covenant that was taken away?

The effectiveness of the sacrifice of Jesus

"Because Jesus Christ has fulfilled the will of God and offered his own body as a sacrifice, we are now sanctified once and for all" (Heb. 10,10 NGÜ).

The believers are "sanctified" by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus, once offered as a sacrifice (sanctified means "singular for divine use"). No victim of the Old Covenant has done that. In the Old Covenant victims had to be "sanctified" again and again by their ceremonial pollution, but the "saints" of the New Covenant are definitively and completely "separated" - not because of their merit or their works, but because of the perfect sacrifice of Jesus.

2. The sacrifice of Jesus does not have to be repeated

"Every other priest stands at the altar day after day to do his ministry, and innumerable times brings forth the same sacrifices who are never able to take away sins. Christ, on the other hand, having made a single sacrifice for sins, has forever placed himself in the place of honor on the right side of God, and has since been waiting for his enemies to be made a footstool for his feet. For with this one sacrifice he has completely and forever freed all those who let himself be sanctified from his guilt. This is confirmed by the Holy Spirit. In the Scriptures (Jer. 31,33-34), it says first: "The future covenant that I will conclude with them will look like this: I will - says the Lord - put my laws in their hearts and I will put them in their hearts write". And then it continues: "I will never again think of their sins and their disobedience to my commandments." But where the sins are forgiven, no further sacrifice is needed "(Heb. 10,11-18 NGÜ).

The scribe of Hebrews presents the high priest of the Old Covenant Jesus, the great high priest of the New Covenant. The fact that Jesus chose to become a Father after ascending to heaven is proof that his work was completed. In contrast, the ministry of the Old Covenant ministers never came to fruition, they made the same sacrifices day after day. This repetition was proof that their sacrifices had not really taken away the sins. What tens of thousands of animal sacrifices failed to accomplish, Jesus did for ever and for all with his one perfect sacrifice.

The phrase "[Christ] ... sits down" refers to Psalm 110,1: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a stool for your feet!" Jesus is now glorified and has taken the place of the victor. When he returns, he will defeat every enemy and give the wealth of the kingdom to his father. Those who trust him now need not be afraid because they are "made perfect forever" (Heb. 10,14). Indeed, believers experience the "fullness in Christ" (Col. 2,10). Through our attachment to Jesus, we stand as perfect before God.

How do we know that we have this position before God? Victims under the Old Covenant could not say they no longer needed to "conscience their sins." But New Covenant believers can say that God does not want to remember their sins and wrongdoings because of what Jesus did. So "no more sacrifice for sin." Why? Because no sacrifice is needed anymore "where the sins are forgiven."

As we begin to trust Jesus, we experience the truth that all our sins are forgiven in and through Him. This spiritual awakening, which is a gift of the Spirit to us, makes us all feel guilty. By faith, we know that the question of sin is forever completely settled, and we are free to live accordingly. In this way we are "sanctified".

3. Jesus' sacrifice opens the way to God

Under the Old Covenant, no believer would have been so brave as to enter the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle or temple. Even the high priest entered this room only once a year. The thick curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the sacred served as a barrier between man and God. Only the death of Christ could tear this curtain down from top to bottom (Mark 15,38) and open the way for people to the heavenly sanctuary where God lives. With these truths in mind, the writer of Hebrews now sends the following cordial invitation:

"So now, dear siblings, we have free and unhindered access to God's sanctuary; Jesus opened it to us through his blood. Through the curtain - that is to say concretely: through the sacrifice of his body - he has paved the way, which until then no one has gone, a way that leads to life. And we have a high priest to whom the whole house of God is subordinate. That's why we want to step before God with undivided devotion and confidence and confidence. In our hearts we are sprinkled with the blood of Jesus and thus freed from our guilt-laden conscience; we are literally washed all over our bodies with pure water. Further, let us steadfastly cling to the hope to which we confess; because God is faithful and keeps what he has promised. And because we are responsible for each other, we want to encourage each other to show love and do good. Therefore, it is important that we do not stay away from our gatherings, as some have become accustomed to, but that we encourage one another, all the more so as, as you can see, the day is approaching when the Lord returns "(Heb 10,19-25 NGÜ).

Our confidence to enter the Blessed Sacrament, to come into the presence of God, is based on the finished work of Jesus, our great High Priest. On the Day of Atonement, the High Priest of the Old Covenant could only enter the holy of holies in the temple when he offered the blood of the sacrifice (Heb. 9,7). But our entry into the presence of God is not due to the blood of an animal, but to the shed blood of Jesus. This free access to the presence of God is new and not part of the Old Covenant, which is termed "outdated and outdated" and will soon "disappear", suggesting that the Hebrews' Letter from the destruction of the Temple in 70 n. The new way of the New Covenant is also called "the way to life" (Hebrew 10,22) because Jesus "lives forever and will never stop advocating for us" (Hebrews 7,25) itself is the new and living way! He is the New Covenant in person.

We come to God freely and confidently through Jesus, our high priest, over the "house of God". "We are this house, provided we hold the confidence that God has given us and that fills us with joy and pride" (Heb. 3,6 NGÜ). When his body was martyred on the cross and his life sacrificed, God tore the curtain in the temple, symbolizing the new and living way that opens to all who trust in Jesus. We express this confidence by responding in three ways, as the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews drew in three parts as an invitation:

Let us join

Under the Old Covenant, priests could not approach the presence of God in the temple until after undergoing various ritual ablutions. Under the New Covenant, we all have free access to God through Jesus through the cleansing of the heart, which has been effected through his life, death, resurrection, and ascension to humanity. In Jesus we are "sprinkled with the blood of Jesus in our hearts" and our "bodies are washed with pure water." As a result, we have full communion with God, and so we are invited to "approach" - to access, who belongs to us in Christ to savor, so let us be courageous, courageous and full of faith!

Let us hold on unerringly

The original Jewish-Christian readers of Hebrews were tempted to give up their confession of Jesus in order to return to the Old Testament rulings of Jewish believers. Calling them to "hold fast" is not about holding on to their salvation, which is certain in Christ, but about "holding on to the hope" they "confess" to. You can do this with confidence and perseverance because God, who has promised that we will receive the help we need at the right time (Hebrew 4,16), is "faithful" and delivers what he has promised. If believers keep their hope for Christ and rely on the faithfulness of God, they will not waver. Let us look forward in hope and trust Christ!

Let us not leave our meetings

Our trust as believers in Christ to enter into the presence of God is expressed not only personally, but also together. It is possible that the Jewish Christians gathered with other Jews on the Sabbath in the synagogue and then met in the Christian community on Sunday. They were tempted to withdraw from the Christian community. The writer of Hebrews declares that they should not do so and urges them to encourage each other to continue attending the gatherings.

Our communion with God should never be self-centered. We are called to fellowship with other believers in local churches (like ours). The emphasis here in Hebrews is not on what a believer gets through the church visit, but on what he contributes with consideration for others. The continuous visit of the congregations encourages our siblings in Christ and encourages them to "show love and do good to each other." A strong motive for this permanence is the coming of Jesus Christ. There is only one second place in which the Greek word for "gathering" is used in the New Testament, in 2. Thessalonian 2,1, where it translates as "merged (NGT)" or "assembly (LUT)" and refers to the return of Jesus at the end of the age.

Closing Remarks

We have every reason to have complete confidence to progress in faith and perseverance. Why? Because the Lord we serve is our highest sacrifice - His sacrifice for us is enough for everything we ever need. Our perfect and almighty High Priest will bring us to the goal - he will always be with us and lead us to perfection.

from Ted Johnson

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