Summary: Chrismas EVe basic sermon
† In Jesus Name †
This day, God’s gifts of mercy and peace are yours, through Jesus Christ!
The Son sat next to His Father, the day before the departure. They sat there, as if they were one, quietly contemplating the son’s departure the next day. They had worked together, side by side, for as long as they could remember. But in a few moments, that would change. The son would go out of his Father’s presence, into a hostile world.
I have to wonder how much of a hock it would be, to go from the broad expanse of heaven, to the cramped, confined quarters inside of Mary’s womb. From being all-powerful, and all onmnscient, to having to depend on the umbilical cord for survival.
To go from the throne, to the womb, to the manger,
To go from being in a place of pure glory, to being in a place of humility…
He left the Father’s side, and He came…to Bethlehem, to the World, to us…
Eiserchomai – special usage
Holy Place, Sacrificial usage
Do you remember studying prefixes and suffixes back in your days in school? Add a few letters to the beginning of a word, and you change the word. The word Prefix itself, has a prefix. Literally it means to “set something before”. Think of words like Predestinate, which means to set destiny beforehand, or anaerobic, which means without aerobic – without wind or breath.
In verse five, the word for “came”, when Christ “came” into the world, has a prefix attached to it, in the Greek. The word in Greek is erchomai, which can mean come or go, depending on context. The prefix is the word eis, which simply means into, or onto, or against, thereby changing the word from came, to entered, or gone into.
Not much of a difference? It wouldn’t seem to be, until you look at where that specific word isused, especially in the book of Hebrews. There, it is used almost exclusively for entering the presence of God, or the place where He has promised His presence, and His forgiveness to be. In chapter 9, it is used for the High Priest entering the Holy of Holies to offer the sacrifice for sins, in chapter 6, for the great High Priest Jesus, entering into the heavenly realm to intercede for us. There is both the sense of pure holiness, and the imminent offering, that will restore God’s people, cleansing them from their sin, by the blood of the sacrifice. Eiserchomai is restricted for special purpose in the Book of Hebrews
We have talked before about the set-up of the temple, in relationship to our own church. How the Holy of Holies was restricted for use, for once a year, when the sacrifice for the sins of the nation was made. How if the priest was not sanctified already, he was a dead man. We have talked of the lack of access to the presence of God, there in the temple. It is that word, for coming into the holy of holies, that is used here in Hebrews.
Therefore, here in chapter 10, we see an incredible clarification of this word “Came”. He came, in the very same way that the High priest enters the Holy of Holies, once a year, to sprinkle blood on the mercy seat.
He came…in holiness, to offer one final sacrifice…
Why didn’t the sacrifices work?
Why weren’t they what God desired?
There is an old saying, originating in Latin. He came, he saw, he conquered. It was said probably about Julius Caesar, a general who exploits on the battle field are still remarkable to this day. Though a different sort of King, Jesus Came, and what He saw, it was his duty to overcome.
But is His observation, what He saw, that concerns me. Our reading says, "Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,”, quoting the psalmist, and in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. This is not the only place it says such in the Bible, for throughout the Old Testament, there are references to God find Israel’s sacrifices unacceptable, and even abominable.
Yet these sacrifices were done in the very manner God instructed the people of God in, from how the priests were dressed, to the ritual way the sacrifices were prepared. They took incredible care to ensure things were done perfectly. Yet, If God had ordained the system, why does it becoming something he doesn’t desire, that doesn’t bring him pleasure but disgust? Why do these sacrifices, done as God commanded, earn His wrath and scorn?
Why do these sacrifices cause such displeasure?
The key is found inside the parenthesis of verse 8, “these are offered according to the law.” While God was looking for obedience, people had reduced the sacrificial system to a matter of transactions. For some reason, human nature wants to reduce a relationship with God to a business transaction, a simple, here is my offering, now forgive my sin, my self-centered nature. Enough coming to church, enough prayers, enough Bible Study, and I have bought my way into heaven.