Daily Update #200!

Welcome to the 200th update!

Hebrews 9:15, 24–end                    Ps 98:1-7                       Mark 3:22-30

Our Mediator and Sacrifice

Today we consider, in our continuing look at the book of Hebrews, words from chapter 9.

15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance – now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. 25 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. 26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Christ is our mediator. He perfectly represents both parties being fully human and fully God. In this book, he could possibly be considered like the executor of a will, and in this case it’s God’s perfect will! We have truly inherited the fullness of the estate of heaven. In fact, the Greek word for ‘covenant’ is the same as the word for a ‘will’ in the legal sense. I guess not many of us have received vast treasures from our families, but in the case of our gracious God, we have inherited a treasure beyond any other. So, what are we going to do with all that spiritual wealth, so freely given?

Christ is our sacrifice. I think the word sacrifice has lost some of it’s meaning in today’s world. It’s a powerful word, and in the New Testament almost half of all the occurrences are in the book of Hebrews. There are three distinct aspects to the Jewish old covenant idea of sacrifice. First, it was an offering, for those wishing to receive the benefits of atonement (or at-one-ment with God), which required a spot-less creature. It was providing an animal in the place of ourselves to cover our own shortcoming; demonstrating sacrifice is costly. Next it entailed the shedding of blood; sacrifice is shocking! Finally, it was cleansing, because not only was the past sin dealt with, but the person was reinstated to a relationship with God; sacrifice is sanctifying.

You might be tempted to think that in God’s old covenant, the taking of life of bulls and lambs was barbaric, but it serves to remind us of the seriousness of the problem it was dealing with.
Yet the Good News is that Jesus became our willing sacrifice. It was costly, and I guess we will never fully comprehend the price paid willingly for you and me. It required a real physical painful death, yet it brought us back to a restored open relationship with God, cleansing us from all our sin.
Jesus was victorious through his sacrificial death. He mediated eternal life for us in all its fullness on earth, and in the future when we will reign with him forever. Without his death, the ‘will’ could not have taken effect.

As a slight aside, I find it truly amazing how when reading passages of scripture over again, I find new things revealed. In this passage I noticed in verse 24, that the old temple was a copy of the one in eternity. We therefore have a slight glimpse of one aspect of heaven. Jesus prepared this new temple for us, so we can partake in the everlasting worship. So, when someone asks what heaven is going to like, don’t forget to point out, that the temple no longer requires a sacrificial altar, as Jesus is the once and for all perfect sacrifice.

We thank you Jesus for the costly shedding of your blood to bring us back to a restored relationship with you, our Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit.
We thank you that you have chosen us to inherit the kingdom, and help us to rise to the responsibility of ruling with you.
We look forward to worshiping you in the heavenly temple, where we will see you face to face in all your glory.
Help us Lord, to be led to do your work, here and now, having accepted your sacrifice which has released us from the power of sin and condemnation.