The Letter to the Hebrews: a commentary & meditation
"When Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God"


Scripture: Hebrews 10:1-18

1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices which are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who draw near. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered? If the worshipers had once been cleansed, they would no longer have any consciousness of sin. 3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin year after year. 4 For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.

5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, "Sacrifices and offerings thou hast not desired, but a body hast thou prepared for me; 6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings thou hast taken no pleasure.

7 Then I said, `Lo, I have come to do thy will, O God,' as it is written of me in the roll of the book."

8 When he said above, "Thou hast neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings" (these are offered according to the law), 9 then he added, "Lo, I have come to do thy will." He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, then to wait until his enemies should be made a stool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds," 17 then he adds, "I will remember their sins and their misdeeds no more."

18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.



Meditation: Christ's whole life was lived in obedience. Nonetheless, it was by a specific action that he saved the human race--going to death on a cross. In concluding a discussion of how the sufferings and death of Christ replaced the old covenant sacrifices, Hebrews 10 quotes Psalm 40:6-8: According to Hebrews, these verses are properly understood as words spoken by Christ to express his purpose in coming into the world. They express Christ's intention to replace the old covenant sacrifices by an action which fulfills God's will.

Christ saw his own undergoing suffering and death as the way God intended to have the old covenant sacrifices replaced by a new and effective sacrifice that would accomplish the sanctification of the human race. Christ acknowledged that this offering of himself as a redemptive sacrifice was the reason for his becoming human. The Father had prepared a body, a way for his divine Son (Hebrews 1:3) to share in the same nature as those to be redeemed (Hebrews 2:14). Christ was therefore eligible to be their priest. He accepted his Father's wish in the words, "Lo, I come to do your will."

"Lord Jesus Christ, by your obedience to the Father's will you reversed the curse of our disobedience and sin. Free me from pride and wilfulness and help me to live in full submission to your will for my life."


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(c) 1999 Don Schwager