The Big Buts of Advent /2

Another passage that probably isn’t a regular on the Advent radar is Hebrews 10. Hebrews is a great book to consider at this time of year however, for the way in which its author went to great lengths to tie Jesus into the greater narrative of God’s redemptive history.

Give Hebrews 10:1-14 a read.

The law and its sacrifices were intended as a shadow of what was to come. They could never make a soul holy or perfect. If they could have done that, then they would have been offered and ceased. Mission accomplished. But…

But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

In other words, the blood of sacrificed animals didn’t atone for man’s sins, but rather pointed forward to a sacrifice that would perfectly atone. Jesus.

Here’s where a little more of the theology of the incarnation comes in. Why was it necessary for this Messiah to be more than a mere man, but God in human flesh? The blood of a sacrificial animal wouldn’t suffice. Neither would the blood of a mere man. Notice the words holy and perfect in this passage. This is man’s great need.

The writer of Hebrews goes on to speak of the remedy beginning in verse 5. Christ came into the world and said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.”

The text continues on from verse 8 with a commentary/summary of sorts: First he said… then… and… through… (I’d suggest to you that by following those words right there you’ll have for yourself a great and soul nourishing study.)

The point of it all: the ministry of priests and their sacrifices of old was insufficient. But…

But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.

It is finished. No man could have accomplished it. No man could have ministered a perfect sacrifice that would render us perfect, but God in flesh. This second week in the season of Advent, where is your heart? Have you embraced this most wonderful gift? Have you cherished God’s love for us demonstrated in His incarnation?

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