A Better Blood
The author of Hebrews is arguing in this passage that Jesus is a better priest and a better mediator of a better covenant. His reasoning is laid out in Chapter 9 as he goes through a description of the Old Testament sacrificial system and he explains that the whole temple was set up to deal with our guilt and our separation from God.
In verses 1-5, we see clues from the building itself. We see the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place which contains the ark of the covenant, the golden urn holding manna, Aaron's staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant (v4). Verse 5 says, "Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat.
The tent/temple showed us 1. I'm with you 2. I'll provide for you. BUT...the only people who ever saw these things were the priests and the High Priest. The author is saying that this symbolizes that the way into the very presence of God had not yet been disclosed. The OT ritual system wasn't the way into the presence of God. The 4-inch thick curtain was still there.
In verses 6-10 the author asks us to look at the rituals. The ritual of the Old Covenant, carried out in a "earthly sanctuary," pointed to its own inadequacy in verses 1-10. All the animal sacrifices of the OT were simply a picture pointing forward to the one who was really going to offer the one and only true sacrifice on your behalf for sin.
Verses 11-12, "But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered ONCE for all into the holy places..."
The Blood of Jesus points to 3 things for us:
1. Takes away our guilt - it purifies our conscience by reminding us that we have been set free by the shed blood of Christ. The author points to a "will" which helps the people of the day understand the original covenant that God made with Abram in Genesis 15:9-17. In Gen 15:17, we see that God deviated from the "rules" of the covenant when we didn't make Abram pass through. God passed through for him. Covenants are made between living people. A will goes into effect when someone dies. Because of God's setting up of the covenant in Gen 15, Jesus had to die because YOU AND I broke the covenant. The only way that God could forgive you is if Jesus paid the penalty for that broken covenant. In Hebrews 9:19-20 we see the same language that we see in Matthew 26, but Jesus inserts Himself into the story. It was a scandalous thing to say as a Jew, but it was true.
2. You are forgiven - without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin. Verses 23-28 give us a clear understanding that Jesus was the sacrifice, and He entered into heaven itself. Jesus appeared ONCE FOR ALL.
3. From Fear to Longing - v28 ...but to save those who are eagerly awaiting for Him. There is more testimony in the Bible about Jesus' second coming than there is for His first. See (Rev 19:11-16; Rev 20:11-15, Rev 22:7, 12-13, 20-21) Christ came as a sinless, spotless Lamb for you and me, but He is also King and Judge.
William H McKenzie, "God's love for you will never end because it never began." If God is eternal, and one of His attributes is love, then He has always loved you...it never started!
To Discuss Today:
1. Meditate on what God through Jesus has done for you. Dwell on His redemption story.
2. Read the Revelation passages above. How do they encourage you?
3. Have you really let God take away your guilt? Do you hold onto that? Why?