Text: Heb. 10:11-18INTRODUCTION:
Today as we are still in the mood of Easter, the Lord wants us to reflect on the uniqueness of the sacrifice that Jesus paid on the cross of calvary to bring us all into the realm of triumph over sin, satan and shame. Without any doubt, His death on the cross of calvary was not only a sacrifice, but a unique and perfect sacrifice.
According to Websters English Dictionary, a Sacrifice is “an offering made to God by killing and burning some animal upon an altar, as an acknowledgment of his power and providence, or to make atonement for sin, appease his wrath or conciliate his favor, or to express thankfulness for his benefits. Sacrifices have been common to most nations, and have been offered to false gods, as well as by the Israelites to Jehovah.” Before the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, the people of Israel had offered many sacrifices of animals through their priests. There were sacrifices of burnt offerings, sin offerings, guilt offerings, trespass offerings, peace offerings and so on. Those sacrifices were either Expiatory- atoning for sin, Impetratory- seeking divine favour or Eucharistical- expressing thanks to God. According to the Bible, none of those sacrifices actually fully atoned for sin like that of Jesus. ( Heb. 10:11) But that of Jesus was different because it was the perfect sacrifice. (Heb. 10:14) There are many ways the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross of calvary was unique.
THE UNIQUENESS OF THE PERFECT SACRIFICE. There are lots of differences between the sacrifice of Jesus (the Perfect Sacrifice) and that of the Old Testament which I will describe as the Imperfect Sacrifice.
1. The Imperfect Sacrifice was offered by priests who needed to offer sacrifices for their own sin first, but the perfect sacrifice was made by Christ who knew no sin.( Heb. 7:26-27)
2. Old Testament Sacrifices were made with the blood of animals, but that of Jesus with His own blood. (Heb. 9:4,12) Imperfect sacrifices were made with imperfect blood of animals while the perfect sacrifice was made by the perfect blood of Jesus Christ.
3.The Sacrifices under the old covenant were offered repeatedly. But that of Jesus was once and for all. (12)
Therefore, Jesus our High Priest under covenant of grace offered His own blood not the blood of goats, rams or birds. With His own blood, He entered the Most Holy Place once for all and by so doing obtained eternal redemption for us all. Hallelujah. The blood of Christ was uniquely effective. It was the “precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. (1Pet. 1:19) Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! ” (Joh 1:29).
CONCLUSION: The Sacrifice Jesus offered on the cross of calvary therefore was voluntary, substitutionary, sufficient and perfect. Therefore, it has both the Power of Expiation-removal, cleansing from sin and the Power of Propitiation- removal of wrath/punishment of sin. (1 Pet. 1:18-19, 1John 4:10) It is the power for our victorious living. (Heb. 10:13-14) It was a great sacrifice which Jesus paid which must not be in vain. Therefore, do not let this sacrifice be in vain. While the sacrifice has been offered once and for all, all you need to do is to come under the covenant of grace by surrendering your life to Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. Some years ago, a Fulani man who had watched the Jesus film series shouted when it got to the scene of Jesus crucifixion, “Jesus, come down from that cross. I ‘m suppose to be on that cross, not you.” One drunken man after he killed another during a fight ran with his shirt full of blood to escape arrest. He ran to the house of a Christian man who had been preaching salvation to him before. The Christian man who lived in a single room had no place to hide him. He then put off his own shirt, wore the blood stained shirt, instructing his friend to keep his shirt clean and went to the entrance of his house. He was then arrested, badly beaten and taken to the police station. He was later found guilty of murder at the court because he would not speak a word to exonerate himself. The real murderer who was safe at home was feeling so guilty that he ran to the court so see if he could exonerate him. But it was too late. His friend was already hanged. When he got to the execution ground, he saw his friend who was already dead and as he was weeping, all he could remember were the words of his friend, “KEEP MY SHIRT CLEAN.” That made the murderer to repent and gave his life to Jesus. May the perfect sacrifice of Christ perfect all that concerns us all. Amen.