Central Message of the Gospel:
|Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted. Hebrews 2:17-18
Because this small section of scripture offers so much to us, we’ll take it in two parts. First, Jesus who was fully God, out of His love for us, lowered Himself to take on humanity through the incarnation. Jesus did this so that He could be our perfect substitute, taking our place at the Cross of Calvary. We have to remember that God is a perfect and holy God, therefore, His laws are just and perfect. This means that God cannot look the other way when we sin and rebel against Him. God cannot pretend our sin did not occur and give us a free pass. In other words the price for sin has to be paid, and that’s where Jesus comes in. The punishment for sin is eternal separation from God. Moreover, there are no works or deeds we can do to earn our way out of sin’s penalty and into heaven. In order for Jesus to take the place of mankind to receive the punishment that we deserved, He had to experience humanity, except without our sin nature. This means the living God of Heaven, stepped out of eternity and took on our humanity, in order to take the judgment due us, upon Himself.
Jesus through His incarnation experienced everything that we experienced and thereby made Himself a substitute for us, by His humanity. Jesus grew weary, needed sleep, became hungry and was tempted in every way. However He did not sin. Jesus did nothing deserving of punishment or death. Despite this He took on death for one reason and one reason alone, and that reason was us. Jesus, knowing we could not pay the price without that price (death) being final, paid it for us with His death on the Cross. And it’s this concept of Jesus becoming a perfect substitute for us that we get the word propitiation. The word carries the meaning that Jesus didn’t just pay the price for our sins. But He paid it in full once and for all time, past, present and future. Jesus paid it completely and perfectly. And His resurrection is our proof that God the Father accepted that payment, as well as our guarantee that He is who He claims to be, God in the flesh. Jesus accomplished our freedom from the penalty of sin and in its place gave us the gift of eternity spent in His presence. The proof and guarantee of which was His resurrection and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit given freely to all who follow Him.
Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
Jesus was fully human and fully God. That is to say, Jesus is God in the flesh, and while divine He shared in our humanity without a sin nature, and without losing any of His divinity. This simple fact is so important for us to remember because without this knowledge and understanding we cannot fully comprehend the significance of Jesus’ death for us on the cross. This is important because if Jesus was not who He claimed to be, who He proved Himself to be, then His sacrifice on the cross would have been for nothing. Because without divinity and with a sin nature, His death would not have cleared away our sin. This is why Jesus’ death means so much to us! Because He is fully God, He is the Second Person of the Trinity, He is the Creator of all creation. And He took upon Himself humanity in order to pay for our sins. By doing so He took upon himself the punishment we deserved. And by responding to Him as our Lord and Savior we can spend eternity in His presence. This is why Jesus is referred to as our High Priest. Because His sacrifice for us, has given us access to God. Because of what Jesus did for us, we now have a restored relationship with God the Father, by the conduit of our active faith in Christ.
In the system of Judaism sacrifices were made in the tabernacle which later became the Temple in Jerusalem. The inside of the Jewish Temple contained an inner chamber called the Holy of Holies, this is where the High Priest made a sacrifice to cover, or put aside ( but not remove) the sins of the people once a year. This is where God met with His people. Only the High Priest was allowed to mediate between the people and God and this could only happen once a year. After the High Priest made a sacrifice for his sins, he could then make a sacrifice for the sins of the people. He would take the blood from the sacrifice into the Holy of Holies and place blood on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant. The Holy of Holies was separated by a large, very thick curtain. This curtain which was several inches thick was the wall of separation between God and the people. And it could only be bridged once a year and only by the High Priest.
However, when Jesus died on the cross, immediately this curtain which was impossible to tear ripped down the middle exposing the Holy of Holies. This happened because Jesus as our High Priest removed the separation between us and a Holy God. Because of Jesus work on the Cross of Calvary, we can now come boldly before a Holy God as children of God. Because of our faith in Jesus, we are adopted into the family of God as children and joint-heirs with Christ.
Belonging to God in the beginning by His rights, and after selling my soul to Satan through sin, I have been redeemed. He bought me back again at a heavy price paid all by Him. Humanity at large has a very difficult time of it understanding such a deep and eternal, joy-filled love!
Do you believe this? Let us examine ourselves daily, not forgetting the fundamentals even as we dig deeper growing in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Blessing: May the Living God of all love, joy, hope and peace be with you now and forevermore!