Christ’s Death and Resurrection
4For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 5Wherefore when he comes into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God. 8Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 15Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 16This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 18Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. 19Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21And having an high priest over the house of God; 22Let us draw near with a true heart in fill assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
19And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
The lesson today is the last in the covenant series. It is one of the most significant lessons because it looks at the benefits of Christ’s Covenant.
Throughout history the bodies of animals and humans have been sacrificed in order to appease angry gods. In the Old Testament animals were offered as a substitute for the sinner, but the Old Covenant was not sufficient to remove the sins of man.
Death Destroyed: Christ’s death was no accident. His resurrection should have been no surprise, but the disciples did not really understand the significance of the resurrection until later.
God had said that obedience was better than sacrifice, also that He would bless Israel if they would obey His law.
Part of obedience to God’s law was that the Israelites were to offer sacrifices to God as prescribed in the law of Moses. These were like object lessons, perpetually teaching Israel that the penalty for sin is death.
The Old Covenant was not sufficient to remove the sins of man; the guilt and the mark of sin still remained. The only adequate sacrifice and substitute would have to be a sinless human being – an innocent and holy person who could die for sinners.
Human sacrifices were prevalent in many pagan religions. God forbade such sacrifices, because in all those instances the humans sacrificed were themselves, sinners and unholy.
God could not accept this so the sacrifice and rituals carried out under the law of Moses were but a mere shadow of the good things to come under the New Covenant of grace provided by Christ.
We all know that a shadow is but an outline of the reality which casts the shadow. Now that the New Covenant of grace has been given by God through Christ, to continue living under the provisions of the Old Covenant would be to reject the reality of salvation and Christ’s sacrifice.
To be the sacrifice acceptable to God for the salvation of sinners, and establish the New Covenant of grace, Jesus Christ had to be both human and divine. He had to be a real flesh and blood person but also He had to be holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners.
For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.
Unlike earthly priests, such as the priests of Israel, who had to offer the same animal sacrifices again and again and day after day, for their own sins and the sins of the people, Christ made only one sacrifice for sins, once and for all. He became the all-sufficient sacrifice, did everything necessary to perfect forever in the sight of God those who come to Him for cleansing and consecration to God.
How frustrating it would be to know that no matter how many sacrifices we might make, it would never be possible to appease the wrath of God against us for our sins. Now we have the joy of knowing that Christ, by His sacrifice on the cross, did all that was needful to make us acceptable to God forever.
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord Jesus Christ placed Himself between God’s wrath and us, becoming the object of God’s wrath on the cross. He was able to do this only because He Himself became man and His body was able to meet God’s demands.
If He did not have a human body, He would not have been able to shed His blood. In giving His life on the cross, the Lord Jesus Christ did all that was necessary or ever would be necessary, for man to enjoy God’s complete salvation.
Sin is the great barrier between God and man. By shedding His precious blood, the Lord Jesus provided the means whereby man can be rid of this barrier.
There is nothing which we can do to improve on the redemptive work of Christ. We are saved by faith in His blood. Our good works can never be the basis for receiving God’s saving grace. Good works follow genuine faith in Christ.
When we fail, and everyone does, and we seek a renewed cleansing, Christ does not have to be offered up again for our sin. The perfection of His sacrifice indicated the completeness of Christ’s work.
Having asked for forgiveness of our sins, being under the blood of the perfect work of Christ, His sacrifice effectively covers our sins, and we are complete in Him.
Jesus, therefore, did not come to offer Old Testament sacrifices, but to do God’s will. Though nearly 2000 years have passed since Calvary, the sinner today finds the blood has not lost its power.
The Christian who was saved 40 years ago finds the blood still available for daily cleansing in unlimited supply.
1 John 1:9-10
9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Thank God for that “fountain filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel’s veins.” Those modern churches who have taken the “blood songs” out of the hymn books have cut the heart out of the Gospel.
To us who did not see Jesus crucified or witness His resurrection, the Holy Spirit is a witness and keeps bearing witness that He has risen and is at the right hand of God, interceding for us.
Scripture tells of the dynamic reality which makes the New Covenant effective, not only to save sinners but to keep them saved and from sinning.
The prophet Jeremiah, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, spoke of a time when God would make a New Covenant with His people by putting His laws into their hearts and writing them on their minds.
After the 10 Commandments were given by God on Mt. Sinai, there was an explicit understanding on the part of prophets and people of faith, that was stated many times in the Old Testament, that people would not live by God’s law unless it was internalized into their hearts and minds.
God’s law put in the heart and written in the mind by the Holy Spirit makes it possible for the redeemed/saved person to live a Christlike life. This is just one of the many benefits of living under the New Covenant.
The scene in Luke 22:19 is the Lord’s Last supper with the disciples when He took the loaf of bread and broke it, and when He poured the wine and instructed His disciples to drink it. Christ was enacting one final parable concerning His coming sacrifice on the cross.
They were to remember the meaning and significance of the cross through their Passover occasion shared together. Thereafter, they would remember Christ as the “Passover Lamb.“ The broken loaf would represent His broken body, but no broken bones, and the poured out wine would represent His spilled blood at the scene of the cross.
19And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood which is shed for you.
Today the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is to be for us a time of remembrance of Christ’s sacrificial death on our behalf.