The book of Hebrews proves that Jesus is far superior to the Old Testament priests and work

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Chris Cookston"But He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet."

Hebrews 10:12-13

The book of Hebrews proves that Jesus is far superior to the Old Testament priests and work. This included animal sacrifices offered to God on behalf of His people for their sins. But once Jesus completed His cross work, the veil was torn from top to bottom (Matt 27:51; Heb 9:3), signifying that the temple and the priests had become obsolete. Three ideas help us understand this clearly: (1) The priests ongoing work didn't take care of the sin problem; (2) God the Son became Man and took care of the sin problem; (3) Jesus, the Priest-King, finished the work and sat down. To be sure, Jesus has done it all! And, He is all we need! "Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling" (Rock of Ages).

• The priests ongoing work. Hebrews 10:1-10 shows us the inadequacies of the sacrifices, that is, it was "impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins (v 4)." God's intention for the priestly service in the tabernacle (and later in the temple) was not to be conclusive but to foreshadow and anticipate Jesus (v 1). Thirst helps illustrate this. We're never content with thirst, but it serves us by leading us to drink, which prevents death. Remember, God's plan always involved God the Son who had not yet come. God was not satisfied with the priest's sacrifices; they did not cleanse His people from their sins. They were an ongoing reminder to them that their sins were not removed (v 3-4). This created within them a thirst for the coming Son whose sacrifice would be adequate. He says, "Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price (Isaiah 55:1)." Jesus calls us to come to Him. He satisfies our thirst in Himself. He also makes us acceptable to God by clothing us "with garments of salvation" and "a robe of righteousness (Isa 61:10)." Once in Jesus, we stop anxiously searching and working, in Him we rest comfortably.

• God Himself became Man. The second part of Hebrews 10:5 says, "But a body You have prepared for Me." These words were written by David in Psalm 40:6, a faithful king and man after God's own heart who benefitted from the old priest's work. Their work was not a mistake, it was God's way to cover their sin so that they could be in His presence and worship Him. Also, David understood God's intention. Something, or shall I say Someone, far greater and better was coming, one who did not have a human body when he wrote this. Before He created the world, the Son was set to come to the earth, it was "the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God (Acts 2:23)." From eternity, God planned to send the Son to the earth — He would prepare a body for Him — so that "she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins (Matt 1:21)."

• The Priest-King finished His work and sat down. In a clever way, Hebrews 10:11-18 emphasizes the glaring contrast of the daily sacrifices performed by the priests that never took away sins, and Jesus' one-time sacrifice that removed sins (v 11-12). Every priest stood daily, doing his work that was never finished (10:11). On the other hand, after finishing His work, Jesus "sat down at the right hand of God (v 12)." Be sure to see this contrast for all that it is. It is like a brilliant diamond sitting on a black felt rug under a light. The diamond sparkles like a big bright star on a dark moonless night and magnifies that Jesus' sacrifice is complete — it is finished! There are no more sacrifices. He "obtained eternal redemption" (9:12) from sin for believers. And someday, all the King's enemies will be crushed under His feet (v 13). So then, we have real hope today, tomorrow and for all eternity. We can rest in Christ alone.

From the finished work of Jesus Christ, an ever-flowing fountain bursts with the beauties and riches of God's grace, life, faith and love. We draw near to this glorious fountain and receive its riches in Christ alone. And once God brings you to this fountain, you'll never want to leave. It is here that He brings us to Himself; We get God! Nothing can thrill our souls like this.

Dear reader, please understand you do not get saved or become a Christian by doing Christian things, nor by trying to do more good than bad in your life. Do not think that the sacrifice of Christ will be applied to you by merely associating with the church and attending its services. You must come to God by grace and through faith in Jesus Christ. You must go to Christ and the cross. Beg and cry out to God to save you from your sin, pray that you will meet Jesus, and that you'll repent of your sin so that you can know the Lord and draw near to Him.

Chris Cookston is the pastor of Prineville Community Church. He can be reached at 541-447-6315.

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