3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. 5 Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me.
9 then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. – Hebrews 10:3-5, 9-10 NKJV
The old way meets the new way
In our key verse today we find the writer of the book of Hebrews talking about something of great significance. Our writer is talking about a couple of things here: the old covenant (The Law) and the fulfilling of that Law in the new covenant (Christ). The writer is talking to a group of people who followed the Mosaic ways loosely, but also strictly enough to become stubborn in their thoughts and ways. The Way of Christ was hard for many Jews to grasp and understand because they were so used to understanding the Lord in one specific way. So, he must get these people to understand the new covenant, and to do so, we see our writer explain first the old ways of the Law.
Under the Mosaic Law, we know that sacrificing animals to the Lord for one’s sins were commonplace. They would perform burnt offerings to atone for one’s sins and I must state that they were commanded to do so by the Lord. There was a specific day set aside in which the Israelites were to focus on the atoning of one’s sins – we know this day as Yom Kippur (Atonement Day). On the day of Atonement, the Israelites would make a great sacrifice to atone for the sins of a whole nation against God. However, our writer notes a couple of things that came with the day of Atonement.
He says (v.3), “in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.” The Israelites had to do this same sacrifice year after year, constantly, on the same day every year. They would have to gather together one bull and two goats. Then they would sacrifice the one bull and one of the goats while laying their sins on the other goat; making it the scapegoat. For the writer, this raised something else that he wanted to point out.
Our writer says (v.4), “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.” At first glance, we would wonder what has gotten into the writer of Hebrews; how can he talk against the Mosaic Law? We have seen in scripture that sacrificing was what the Lord wanted Israel to do – it was His idea! I imagine many of the people back then may have felt the same way. I want you to understand that the writer is not saying that the Law was bad or that they had errored. He is simply pointing out that the blood of those animals only went so far in permanently atoning for the sins of man.
Let us remember what we saw last week. The Israelites were still performing sacrifices in the day of Isaiah, but they had become so full of sin that the Lord said He would no longer endure their “futile” sacrifices (Isaiah 1:11-13). Those sacrifices were simply not enough to take away their sins nor would it be enough to take away the sins of the rest of the world. So the nation of Israel needed for something greater to come and tear down the barrier of sin (take away sin). I would tell you that the rest of the world needed something better than the blood of animals to tear down the barrier of sin (take away its sin). I don’t believe God created the animals for the purpose of atoning for the sins of man.
In our sermon last week, we learned a couple of things. Firstly: sin separates man from the Lord – it is a barrier. Why is that the case? The Lord does not endure (suffer) sin, and being a sinner blocks one from the Lord – again, it’s a barrier. Secondly: we saw that there was no man that would stand and intercede on the behalf of mankind’s sin (Isaiah 59:16). The prophet, on behalf of the Lord, would go on to say that the Lord brought salvation forth with His arm and that His righteousness would sustain Him.
Christ enters in
In verse 9, we read, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” I tell you that these are the words from God’s arm, His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Christ came to do the will of the Father!
I want to call your attention to verse 5 in which we read:
“Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me.
Hebrews 10:5 NKJV
Our writer quotes Psalms 40:6-8, in which it is again stated that the Lord does not desire sacrifice nor did the Lord take pleasure (Hebrews 10:6). The only begotten Son had a body prepared for Him and for us as well! For what purpose? Why would the Son of God need a body?
The sole purpose of the Messiah (Christ) was to be the one and only sacrifice for sin. The body was meant to be mankind’s greatest sacrifice for its sin. The bulls and goats were sacrificed every year on the day of Atonement but these sacrifices were no longer sufficient for Israel, and they certainly would not have been sufficient for the Gentile nations. God desired (needed) something for better than the animals who would not know why they were being sacrificed in the first place. Again, let us understand the fact that God looked to see if a man would willingly intercede but no man would consciously put himself on the altar for the sins of another.
Jesus was manifested to do what the Lord desired – intercede on the behalf of mankind’s sins! Jesus was manifested to stand up for mankind and break down the barrier that separated man from God. John the Baptist witness Christ coming to be baptized, and on that day, he announced to the people (John 1:29), “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Jesus was manifested to become the Lamb of mankind’s sin!
The people did not realize on that Sunday when Jesus entered Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, that the Lamb was entering into His place of sacrifice. The lamb itself represents an innocent creature. Jesus knew no sin; He was innocent; He was pure. Understand that it was an innocent One that stood up for beings that all they do is sin. As the sins were transferred on the goat during Atonement Day, we laid all of our sins on Christ to bear. Jesus became sin.
I am so thankful Christ was manifested to take away my sins so that I can have a connection to God! It is not through the blood of animals that we are sanctified but through the blood of an innocent Lamb are we sanctified. Christ was sacrificed once so that we do not suffer the punishment of sin. On that what we call Palm Sunday, Christ sacrificed Himself once so I don’t have to raise any “futile” sacrifices over and over again. One man entered into the world, entered into Jerusalem, to save all who should believe in Him. We who believe in Him (Christ) are sanctified by His blood and will have everlasting life. Amen.