Hebrewsby Robert M. Solomon
God had said through the Old Testament prophets, ″I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats″ (Isaiah 1:11). Though He had instituted the temple sacrifices through Moses, He did not derive satisfaction and pleasure from them if they lacked the right attitude of obedience and worship (Hebrews 10:8). They were only a temporary measure to remind the Jews of the seriousness of sin and how life was to be poured out for the forgiveness of sin. However, animal blood was far from adequate for the task. The river of animal blood that flowed in Jewish history pointed to the blood of Jesus that was shed outside Jerusalem and its temple.
The blood of Jesus was effective because of His nature. He is no less than God, though He was also born into this world as a man. The blood of the God-Man has eternal value and power to bring forgiveness to humankind. Christ's sacrifice was unique both because of His identity and the way He carried it out.
The way Jews were to keep the law was through obedience. But they (like us) all failed, hence the need for the temple sacrificial rituals. Jesus was found without sin because He totally obeyed His Father in heaven. The writer quotes the Septuagint version of Psalm 40:6-8 which can be directly applied to Christ (Hebrews 10:5-7). It reiterates that God is not fully satisfied with the sacrifice and offerings at the temple (v. 8). Instead He prepared a body for the Son of God. The significance of the quotation is then explained by the writer in verses 8 to 10.
The sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:10) is effective and satisfied divine requirements because it came with voluntary self-giving love that was evidenced by total obedience. The commitment ″I have come to do your will, my God″ is applied uniquely to Jesus Christ (vv. 7, 9). In His ministry, Jesus constantly alluded to this (John 5:30; 6:38; 8:29). In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said to the Father, ″not as I will, but as you will″ (Matthew 26:39). His willingness to be ″obedient to death″ on the cross was the subject matter of praise and worship in the early church (Philippians 2:8). It is through the once for all sacrifice of the body of Jesus that we ″have been made holy″ (Hebrews 10:10, the verb conveys an action with continuing results; see v. 14). No other sacrifice has such powerful and conclusive results.
Reflect on Isaiah 1:11, 1 Samuel 15:22, and Hebrews 9:13-14. In what way is the death of Christ both perfect obedience and sacrifice? Therefore, how is it contrasted with the temple sacrifices, and why does it make the temple sacrifices obsolete (Hebrews 10:9)?
What do you think the phrase ″we have been made holy″ (Hebrews 10:10) means? How does Jesus' sacrifice apply when we sin again and again (1 John 1:9)? How are you growing in the holiness that Christ has given you?