Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. – Hebrews 10:11-12
Day after day the Old Testament priests offered sacrifices because God had directed them to do so. But the writer of the book of Hebrews reminds us that these sacrifices did not take away sins. This raises a question: Then why offer the sacrifices at all?
This wasn’t just ritual for the sake of ritual, sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice, or blood for the sake of blood. It all had meaning. The shedding and sprinkling of blood reminded the people that they were sinners. It reminded them that they had no business coming before God – in fact they could not come before God with sin and its guilt still on their hands and in their hearts. It reminded them that their sin separated them from God. It reminded them that their sin had to be atoned for. It reminded them that they needed someone to mediate for them. It all pointed ahead to the Savior who was to come. It all pointed ahead to Jesus.
The sacrifice Jesus made was similar yet very different from the sacrifices offered by the Old Testament priests. Jesus’ sacrifice didn’t have to be done over and over again, day after day and year after year. It was done once. And that sacrifice did not consist of the blood of bulls or goats. It was the sacrifice of Jesus himself, the holy precious blood of God’s own Son. One sacrifice – for all sins, for all time.
So today we are taken not to the Old Testament Tabernacle or Temple Court, but to a hill outside Jerusalem. There we see Jesus, the sinless Son of God, hanging on a cross. Some mock him and challenge him to come down. He could, but he doesn’t. He stays. He stays on the cross and endures the punishment, the hell we sinners deserve. He stays and sheds his innocent blood for our sins and for the sins of the world. Then he proclaims, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). And it is! It will not, it cannot, it need not be repeated ever again.
Jesus suffered, Jesus died, Jesus rose, Jesus ascended, and Jesus sat down at the right hand of God. All of this assures you: your sins have been forgiven.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for putting your Word in my heart and on my mind. By this Word assure me that you remember my sins no more; they have been forgiven – in Christ, the perfect Sacrifice for all sins for all time! Amen.