As we enter into this most sacred of weeks on the Christian calendar, we pause to consider the awesome display of God’s graciousness to us. In the Old Testament, God set up a system of animal sacrifices that would point to the coming of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is interesting because when we come to the New Testament, the writer of Hebrews tells us in the 10th chapter “for it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (v.4). Even though God instituted the Old Testament system of sacrifices, it still didn’t take care of the nasty sin problem we have. So why did God institute the sacrificial system? Well the Old Testament sacrificial system was a shadow or a type of that which would come later and be fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament sacrificial system.This is declared right from the start of Jesus’ ministry when in the 1st chapter of John’s gospel John the Baptist declares “Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (v.29). John the Baptist’s repeated declaration of this statement in verse 36 results in John the apostle and Andrew leaving John the Baptist to follow Jesus and thus become His first disciples. The reference to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world takes us back to the Passover lamb in the book of Exodus. Remember that the blood of the Passover lamb had to be applied to the door post for it to be effective and keep the angel of death from stopping at that house. In the same way the blood of Christ must be applied to our hearts and lives if we are going to experience God’s forgiveness and have eternal life. It is not enough to know the facts about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. We must believe (trust) that it was for my personal sin that Jesus died, confess our sin and begin to trust in Him to experience the fullness of His love.
Coming back to the 10th chapter of the book of Hebrews in the 10th verse the author writes “By this we will have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all”. The key words in the Greek language in this verse are the words “once for all”. Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament requirements for the atonement of sin by His “once for all” sacrifice. The author is contrasting this with what was happening in the Jerusalem at the temple when he writes in verses 11-12 and “every priest stands (present tense) daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins, but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God”.
So this Holy week we celebrate the fulfillment of the Old Testament sacrificial system in Jesus Christ. But we celebrate even more the fact that though Jesus was the “lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”, God did not leave Him in the tomb. God raised Him from the dead to verify the fact that Jesus was all the He claimed to be. He alone is worthy of all our praise and adoration for He has cancelled our debt (sin) problem and set us free so we may know and serve Him.
Worshipping the King this Easter Season
Pastor Rich Sivo
*all quotes from the NASB