Welcome back! Hopefully by now you have read Hebrews 9:11-28 and attempted to complete the activity sheet.
This passage can be a little confusing at times, but hopefully you found it more manageable with the context we’ve been discussing.
In this passage of Hebrews, we see that Jesus fulfills all 3 roles we were discussing:
He is “the High Priest” and “the mediator of a new covenant.” He intercedes on our behalf. He has the right to enter God’s presence, and he does so to reconcile us to God.
Not only is he the high priest, but he is also the sacrifice. The blood of Christ, which has no blemish, “purifies our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” He is a perfect sacrifice – “he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” As we saw in the Old Testament, Jesus had to die in order to be the sacrifice, for “without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sins.”
Not only is he the high priest, not only is he the sacrifice, he is the very temple himself. John 2:19-21 says,
“Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body.”
What was the purpose of the temple? It was the place where God would come to meet with mankind. Who was Jesus? He was God, come to earth, to meet with mankind. Hebrews 9:11 mentions a “greater and more perfect tent”, and what could be a greater tabernacle than Jesus himself?
One of the most common critiques of christianity is this, how can you say that Jesus is the only way to salvation?
This lesson really gives us a lot of reasons. All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We have rejected Him, and because of that, we owe a great debt to God. The cost of our sin is death.
In order for there to be forgiveness of sins, someone has to die. So let’s just say that I approach God and say, “God, I really love the people taking this online class. I will pay the price for their sins. I will offer my life and die in their place.”
He would say, “Evan, you’re not good enough. You already owe me your life because you have sinned. And you only have one life to give.” It’s simple math. The only person qualified to be a substitute, the only person qualified to take our place, was Jesus. He had no sin. He was innocent. He was without blemish.
He owed God nothing. And yet, for us, he gave everything.
No one else in history was qualified for this. Jesus is the only way to God because he is the only one who could take our place. He is the only one who could intercede on our behalf. He is the only one who can restore the broken relationship between God and man by bridging the gap.
So in this lesson, we have looked at a few different ways that Jesus has fulfilled prophecies and foreshadowing, but there are plenty more examples.
One of my favorites was given a few hundred years before Jesus. It comes from Isaiah 53:5-7, and I think it’s a beautiful summary of everything we’ve talked about today so far.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
Is that not an amazing picture of everything we’ve been talking about? In order to crush the head of the serpent, Jesus himself was crushed. In order to give us peace, Jesus took on God’s wrath. In order to bring us back to God, Jesus placed our iniquities upon himself. In order to cover our sins and protect us from judgment, Jesus went like a lamb to be slaughtered – he went to the cross without opening his mouth in protest.
And then on the cross, after being crushed and oppressed, he said these words, “It is finished.”
And in the temple, there is a curtain that separates us from the Holy of Holies. Remember, this was where the presence of God dwelt and no one could go in there except for the High Priest, once per year.
But scripture says the moment Jesus died, “the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”
No longer do we need a priest to go before us. No longer do we need extensive rituals to make us clean. It is finished. Jesus did it all.
But of course, his death is not the end of the story.
Do you remember earlier in John 2:19-21 when Jesus said,
“Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
Jesus was setting up one the biggest payoff in history – his resurrection.