So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.
Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant.
Hebrews 9:11-15 | New Living Translation (NLT)
A Sacrifice – Once And For All Time
Today begins a series of daily devotionals for Holy Week based on the lectionary. If you’ve been following my blog, you will know that we are currently following the epistles in year B. We will not be looking so much at the events in Jesus life, but how this week impacts the life of those who believe in Jesus and why he came.
The book of Hebrews was written to early Jewish Christians. The book of James which follows is another book primarily written to early Jewish Christians scattered around the world. Our text begins in chapter 9 beginning in verse 11. The writer has been comparing the old way of worship – the Jewish system, to the new way – Jesus. They have been taking us through the superiority of Jesus over the old system. Throughout the letter the writer has been comparing Jesus to a high priest. A high priest was the only one who could offer full atonement for sins. Atonement is a theological word that describes how we are made one with God again.
In the old system, the blood of goats and bulls would constantly have to be sacrificed to make atonement for sin. It was the only way people could atone for sins. It was temporary – it never paid for future sins. Those sins would have to be paid for after they were committed.
The writer of Hebrews tell us that Jesus – our great High Priest did not sacrificed with goats and bulls, but with his own blood – a much greater sacrifice – a sacrifice that transcends time. Christ entered the Most Holy Place and secured our redemption once for all time. This sacrifice covers the sins of all people from Adam – to the last person left on the face of the planet.
The writer goes on to say that it wasn’t that the blood of goats and bulls wasn’t effective, it’s just that it had to be done over and over and over and over again. He also goes on to say that the blood of Christ not only covers our sins and washes them white as snow, but it can change us – it can transform us. It will free us from the penalty of sin.
Jesus offers us the New Covenant – not a covenant of sacrifices of goats and bulls and all the rules that go along with it – but a covenant paid for by the blood of Christ. Christ is the perfect sacrifice and it is he – not some High Priest – or pastor – or priest – that mediates between us and God. We can go to him to ask forgiveness of our sins, for Christ paid the penalty that frees us from sin. Because of that, we can receive – if we choose – to have eternal life with our Creator.