Hebrews 10. Part 17.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1 ESV).
This is love: In obedience to the Father, God the Son was pleased to take on human flesh, walk among us, teach us, heal us, shed his blood for our sins, die, and rise again, all so that we could be members of God’s family, forgiven, and able to live for eternity with him.
“Under the law [the Old Covenant that Jesus set aside] almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:22b ESV). And so, Jesus shed his blood, once for all, his perfection eliminating the need for any more blood to be spilled for the forgiveness of sins. This is love.
In establishing a New Covenant that did not depend upon the continual offering of blood sacrifices, Jesus put aside the Old Covenant. His sacrifice moved humanity into a new age, an age of grace. We still calculate time and dates from this change in human history, whether labeling dates B.C.E. and C.E. or labeling them B.C. and A.D.
Why make this change? Because: “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he 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. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do your will, my God.’” (Hebrews 10:4-7 NIV).
God’s will was that Messiah Jesus offer himself as the final sacrifice. His offering was powerful enough to cover every single sin of every possible kind committed by every human being for all of eternity.This is love. What Jesus did on the cross, his offering of himself, was powerful enough to cover every single sin of every possible kind committed by every human being for all of eternity. Click To Tweet
Everyone who turns to Jesus and away from sin, believing in him for forgiveness, is made pure for all time. This was accomplished by Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and ascension into heaven.
“He does away with the first [covenant] in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:9b-10 ESV).
Jesus did it all. Through faith in Christ, we are sanctified, made pure, our sins wiped away as clean as if we were newborn babies with blank slates.This is love. Through faith in Christ, we are sanctified, made whole and pure, our sins wiped away as clean as if we were newborn babies with blank slates. Click To Tweet
The God of the universe imagined this entire way of salvation. All along, he planned to reach us in our own time. And thus, he set aside the First Covenant to establish the Second.
This Second Covenant was foretold by Jeremiah around 605 BC/BCE:
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,”
declares the Lord.
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
34 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:31-34 NIV)
Jesus Messiah inaugurated this new covenant, making it available to all humanity who would turn to him in faith. When he entered Jerusalem upon a donkey to begin the week of his crucifixion, he foretold a horrific reality that would occur in Israel’s future. He was heartbroken over what he knew was coming after they rejected the salvation and forgiveness he offered as Messiah. He wept as he foretold the consequences for Jerusalem.
“Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation” (Luke 19:43-44 ESV).
Around 70 AD/CE., about forty years after Jesus told of this coming event and then established the new covenant foretold by Jeremiah, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem. The Emperor Vespasian’s son Titus and his troops also ransacked Israel. They demolished the temple completely, carried off its treasures to Rome, and then, they enslaved Israel’s people.
However, the church escaped, because Jesus had also told his disciples about the coming massacre: “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Matthew 24:15-16 NIV).
Further instructions are recorded in Luke 21:20-24: “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
When Titus’ troops arrived to systematically destroy Jerusalem, where they would eventually defile the holy of holies, murder most of the Jewish people and take the rest into captivity, the believing church knew it was time to flee before the siege even began. They escaped. (Eusebius: The Church History)
Like Jesus, we cry out, wanting the Jewish people to have recognized that the Prince of Peace stood before them, the way to salvation made clear through the Messiah’s visitation as God in the flesh. But they didn’t accept or understand who he was.
God the Son had known for all eternity that they wouldn’t believe. While in Gethsemane, he yielded to this reality once again. John’s gospel explains the whys in John 12:38-41. Isaiah had long ago prophesied that most of the Jewish people would not believe nor would they understand, just like so many in the world today..
“Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” (Isaiah 53:1 NIV).
“He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts. so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them” (Isaiah 6:10 NIV).
This reminds us that “the Jewish rejection of Jesus as Messiah was predicted by Scripture and thus serves to confirm (rather than to thwart) God’s sovereign plan” (ESV Study Bible note, John 12:37-40).
Why did God allow these things? We don’t know why. We don’t understand. But, we do know God’s plan was created in love and allows for the free agency of human beings to make our own choices.
It was this rejection by his own people that caused Jesus pain, knowing how he would feel as a human man when he came to redeem humanity: “But I said, ‘I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all. Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand, and my reward is with my God” (Isaiah 49:4 NIV). Knowing that, he came to establish a new covenant of love.
An arch in Rome displays the destruction of Jerusalem, a carving in bas relief of Titus’ troops carrying into Rome one of the golden lampstands taken from the temple. Historians reckon that 1.1 million Jewish people died in that attack and siege (Eusebius: The Church History).
The Jewish people were once again brutally dispersed across the ancient world. Our hearts cry out for the brutality done, once more, to the family of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus.
The Lord cherishes Israel. He continues to woo Israel and all of humanity. God wants to purify and to redeem every human being on the planet. He calls us all into relationship with him, Jew and Gentile (all non-Jews).
In Romans 11:25-27, Paul foretold that eventually “all Israel” would come to believe in Messiah Jesus. Jesus’ blood is sufficient and powerful enough to render pure and to forgive every single human being who has ever lived who entrusts themselves to him. All who believe in him will be saved.This is love. Jesus' blood is sufficient and powerful enough to render pure and to forgive every single human being who has ever lived who entrusts themselves to him. All who believe in him will be saved. Click To Tweet
We come to him for comfort, for healing, for forgiveness, for grace, for love. When our hearts are moved, when tragedy strikes, when we grieve, we turn toward God. Caught once more in our sin, once more in our selfishness, we turn to him. We ask for his forgiveness. We confess. He welcomes us in.
This One, this amazing God, calls out to us to come to him. He wants every single one of us to turn to him. This is love:
God made “from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us” the Jewish apostle Paul stated and the Gentile physician Luke recorded in Acts 17:26-27 ESV.
“God our Savior wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people” (1 Timothy 2:4-6a NIV).This is love."God our Savior wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. There is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people"(1Tim2). Click To Tweet
The Jewish people have now returned to their land of promise and are able to meet together there in their synagogues, but still, no temple exists, for there is a Muslim holy site there.
Thankfully, because of the Jewish Messiah Jesus, the one mediator between God and man, there is no need for bloody sacrifice any longer, and so there is no purpose for a temple. Rather, each of us who belong to Christ is now a temple for our God, a holy of holies where the Holy Spirit dwells, all with the privilege of glorifying him in our bodies.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV).
Any person of any religious background or ethnic upbringing can come to Messiah Jesus, entrusting their lives to him as Savior. This is how God loves.
How does the giving of God’s Messiah as an offering for the sins of the world impact you? How does God reaching toward you in love change your life?