TODAY’S SCRIPTURE Hebrews 9:11-14
Rivers of blood flowed at the temple in Jerusalem. The priestly functions associated with animal sacrifices would have been grotesque in the extreme. Yet, for all the blood shed over hundreds of years, not one sin was ever removed by that blood (Hebrews 10:4). Its macabre symbolism, however, pointed to something even more horrible!
The blood of bulls and goats is not insignificant; however, it is associated with the prescribed faithful response given in the Old Covenant to obtain God’s gracious forgiveness (Leviticus 4:26, 31, 35; 5:10, 13, 18). But remember, the blood itself provides absolutely no basis for forgiveness. Something more is needed if there is to be an acceptable price paid for our sins.
Romans 3:21-26 explains just how true forgiveness at last is obtained. Here we find it is the blood of Jesus that pays the price. This blood is always the true basis of forgiveness from God’s eternal perspective. It has now been brought into our dimension through the atoning sacrifice of the Lord.
The Hebrews’ writer is thus extravagant in his protracted discussion on both the need for the blood of Jesus and the inadequacy of animal blood (Hebrews 7–10). As we noted in an earlier devotion, God accepts the full responsibility for ensuring that the promised Messiah would come. In this He knows He must be personally involved in death for His covenant partner, sinful humanity, to be forgiven their failures.
As Job wisely concluded in the long ago, there was a need for someone who could place hands on both man and God, but he knew he was most inadequate for the task (Job 9:30-35). Only Jesus, the God/man, could serve as an adequate mediator and sacrifice (John 1:14; 1 Timothy 2:5; John 1:29).
These truths come together in the institution of the Lord’s Supper. Jesus makes it very clear that the New Covenant is going to be a covenant purchased by His blood (Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25). Atonement is found in Jesus.
The New Covenant has been sealed in the blood of Christ. No more do we have an inadequate covenant; the New Covenant contains the blood of Jesus!
Today, I will…remember my helplessness as a sinner and magnify the wonderful gift available through the New Covenant as the covenant bought by the blood of the Lamb!