- Opportunity House
The Final Sacrifice
I pray you are all doing well. This week I want to keep talking about Jesus. Specifically, about Jesus’ sacrifice for us, and how this sacrifice is different from the annual and ritual animal sacrifices of the Israelites. What is it that makes Christ’s sacrifice so different? We will be staying in the book of Hebrews. Beginning with Hebrews 10:1-2,
“The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming–not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near in worship. If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would have no longer felt guilty for their sins.”
Think about the heavenly kingdom for a moment. No more pain, no more sorrow, no more tears, righteousness, the lion and the lamb, laying down together; the law is just a shadow of this peaceful righteousness that will be ours in God’s kingdom.
Just as the law is a shadow of what is to come in regard to peace and righteousness, so the ritual sacrifices by the Israelites are also a shadow of the real and true sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
The ritual sacrifices do not remove sin, which is why these sacrifices are repeated over and over upon the Israelites. Hebrews 10:3-7,
“But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said (in Psalm 40:6-8), ‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, Here I am–it is written about me in the scroll–I have come to do your will O God.”’
Here we are being told, through the words of David, speaking for Jesus, that God did not desire sacrifices and offerings over and over. The burnt offerings and sinful offerings were not pleasing to God at all. But God had prepared a body for Jesus to become our sacrifice because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
So the difference between the sacrifices is in the blood. The key component in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, once and for all, is the blood of Jesus.
What is it about Jesus’ blood that is so special? Let’s go back to the law, Leviticus 17:13-14, where God forbids the Israelites from eating blood.
“Any Israelite or any alien living among you who hunts any animal or bird that may be eaten must drain out the blood and cover it with earth, because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, ‘You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off.’”
In the human body, there are many kinds of tissues; muscle, nerve, fat, gland, and on and on. All of these tissues are fixed cells. The blood, as a tissue, is different, it is fluid and it is mobile. It travels throughout the body, transporting good stuff to our cells, and taking out the trash, so to speak, as it leaves. This takes about 23 seconds to accomplish with each heartbeat. It is a truly remarkable process.
If the blood fails to reach the cells and members of our body, we die. No human ever dies until his blood ceases to circulate. Our life is in our blood.
Let’s go to Dr. M.R. DeHaan as he describes the blood of Christ in his book, The Chemistry of the Blood.
“Now all of this is true of a physical body, but all points to a greater, deeper spiritual truth. The Church of Jesus Christ is called His body and we are members of his body and severally members of one another. In this body Jesus Christ is the Head and all believers are the members. These members are related by the blood of Christ. The (eternal) life of each member depends on His blood and is dependent solely for life, nourishment, cleansing and growth upon the blood of the Lamb of God, for the life …is in the blood. Every born-again believer is a member of this body and lives the common life of every other member by the one thing which unites them and makes them “brothers and sisters”, the sinless, pure blood of Jesus Christ…As essential then as the blood is to our bodies, so essential is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ to the body of Christ. It too, is fluid, so that it can reach every single member of that body no matter how far those members may be removed from each other. Just as the blood supplies the food elements for nourishment and life, and then carries off the waste products and poisons due to cell metabolism, so too, the Lord Jesus Christ is to every believer the only Source of life, the only support and sustenance of life, but also the One who keeps cleansing us day by day, so that our eternal life is REALLY ETERNAL, for the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanses us from all sin.”
There really is a difference between the blood of Jesus Christ and the blood of bulls and goats. The blood of Jesus provides the spiritual cleansing that we each need to heal our sinfulness. The blood of animals does not accomplish this. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can heal us of our sins.
The sacrifice of Jesus, with his blood, pure and sinless, eternal blood that will never die, means that Jesus’ sacrifice is the final sacrifice that is necessary for mankind because it is the perfect sacrifice. Nothing else is, or will ever be, required. Hebrews 10:8-10,
“First he said, ‘Sacrifice and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them’ (although the law required them to be made). Then he said, ‘Here I am, I have come to do your will.’ He sets aside the first (the Old Covenant) to establish the second (the New Covenant). And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.”
This is it. The last sacrifice, the final sacrifice.
But we have to believe.
Yes, Christ’s sacrificial work is complete, and it has been since the cross, a couple of thousand years ago.
All that is left is for us to believe, admit our sinfulness, and ask God for forgiveness, and for Jesus’ blood to cover our sins.
Is it not a shame that many in our families, our friends, neighbors, and co-workers are too stubborn, too proud, too angry, or too full of unbelief to call on the blood of Jesus Christ? Hebrews 10:13-18,
“Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. The Holy Spirit also testifies about this. First he says: This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds. Then he adds: Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more. And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.
It was the final sacrifice.
Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
and Harmony UMC