Hebrewsby Robert M. Solomon
Jesus is the unique, divinely promised priest ordained by God, the eternal priest who will never vacate His office. He has also provided a sacrifice that is far above all the sacrifices offered over the centuries by the Levitical priests: ″He sacrificed for their sins once for all″ (Hebrews 7:27). He sacrificed himself in atonement for our sins, effectively securing the forgiveness of our sins. The author of Hebrews writes that the sacrifices made by the Levitical priests had to be repeated ″day after day″ (v. 27) because they did not ultimately remove the problem of sin. Sin became like a chronic medical condition, the symptoms of which had to be kept under control with the daily ″treatment″ provided by the daily sacrifices at the temple. Many of the people had reduced the sacrifices to a mere ritual. That explains why God in His Word, at times, seems to downplay the importance of the daily sacrifices, because the people failed to see the real work of God in solving the problem of sin. ″‘The multitude of your sacrifices-what are they to me?' says the Lord. ‘I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.'″ (Isaiah 1:11). ″To obey is better than sacrifice″ (1 Samuel 15:22). All the old priestly sacrifices pointed to the one sacrifice that really matters, that provides a decisive, unique, and truly effective solution to the problem of human sin; ″it suffices to eternity″.35 When Jesus ″offered himself″ as the perfect sacrifice, He made all other sacrifices redundant and unnecessary. The Lamb of God was slain for our sins and no other lambs needed to be slain. His sacrifice is the only effective ″medicine″ and ″cure″ for our sinful condition. In this way, Jesus is the High Priest who truly ″meets our need″ (Hebrews 7:26).
He is ″holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens″ (Hebrews 7:26), unlike any of the Levitical priests who had to offer sacrifices for their own sins even as they offered sacrifices for the sins of others (v. 27). These priests were ″men in all their weakness″, but Jesus the High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek comes with God's oath-and there is no perfect priesthood like His (v. 28).
35Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 278.
Why does Hebrews say that the sacrifices offered by the Levitical priesthood were ineffective in bringing forgiveness of our sins and for removing them? The clue is in the truth that in Jesus' case, He who was ″holy, blameless, pure . . . offered himself″ (Hebrews 7:26-27). Take time to thank Jesus for doing this for you, ″who loved me and gave himself for me″ (Galatians 2:20).
The sacrifice of Jesus is a full and perfect offering. What does this mean for you personally?