Summary: The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is greater than all the sacrifices of the Old Testament for several reasons.
NO GREATER SACRIFICE
We have seen that Jesus Christ has a superior High Priesthood to that of The Old Testament. Last week we discovered that the New Covenant is superior to that of the Old. In Chapter nine, we will discover that the Heavenly Sanctuary or tabernacle is superior to the Earthly Sanctuary. In verses 1-10, the writer addresses the Old Tabernacle. Note that he is not belittling the tabernacle for much of the Old Testament speaks of that tabernacle. Note several things about the earthly tabernacle.
It was on earth (1)
It was a shadow of things to come (2-5)
It was inaccessible to people. (6-7)
It was temporary (v. 8)
It was ineffective for a change of heart (9-10)
Moreover, the Old Testament sacrificial system was very limited for at least three reasons. First, it offered restricted access: Only the High priest could enter the Holy of holies and only one day a year. He could never enter without blood which he had to offer to atone for himself before he could atone for the errors of his people.
Next, The Old Testament was limited because it offered only partial cleansing: The OT sacrifices offered external cleansing but could not purify the conscience. Our problems, however, are not merely external, but internal, within our hearts and minds.
Finally, the Old Testament sacrifices offered only limited pardon. No atonement was provided for willful, deliberate sins, but only for sins done in ignorance. Can anything be done for the willful sinner, overwhelmed with his guilt and longing to be released from his burden of guilt?
This brings us to the greatest sacrifice ever offered, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross. The Christian has a new High Priest who has removed the need for an annual Day of Atonement. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is greater than all the sacrifices of the Old Testament for several reasons.
I. A PERSONAL SACRIFICE:
When Jesus Christ ascended back into heaven, He entered the Heavenly Sanctuary, the Most Holy Place “Once for all” to make atonement, not with the blood of animals, but with his own blood. The New Sanctuary is superior to the Old Sanctuary because of the sacrifice that was offered. How is Jesus’ sacrifice greater than the sacrifice offered on the Day of Atonement? It was a personal sacrifice.
Jesus offered himself, not an animal. All through the epistle to the Hebrews, the author seeks to show the superiority of Jesus Christ. In this chapter he shows that the New Covenant is superior to the Old. Under the Old there was a tabernacle, though made according to the pattern God gave, was made by human hands. The sacrifices of the Old Covenant were repeated often.
But now, we discover that Jesus Christ is the great High Priest of good things to come. He entered into a more perfect tabernacle, an eternal one. One not made with hands. Our High Priest entered into that greater tabernacle and offered better blood. He did not offer the blood of goats and calves, but his own blood. He came and once for all entered the most holy place, offering His own blood. As the old song says, "there is power in the Blood of Jesus."
II. A PRECIOUS SACRIFICE
It was not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood. The blood of goats and calves procured only a temporary reprieve from the wages of sin. The Blood of Christ gives us eternal redemption, and the sacrifice he made on the cross NEVER NEVER EVER needs to be repeated.
9:22: Without shedding of blood, there is no redemption.
9:26: Jesus Christ came the first time to put away our sin by the sacrifice of himself.
9:28: Jesus will come a second time to bring our salvation to completion.
Isaac Watts wrote:
Not all the blood of beast on Jewish altars slain,
Could give the guilty conscience peace or wash away the stain.
Christ the heavenly Lamb takes all our sins away,
A sacrifice of nobler name and richer blood than they.
When we observe the Lord’s Supper, we not only look back to the cross and to the salvation he purchased for us by His own blood, we also look forward to the full realization of that salvation. I Peter 1:18-19: "Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that our faith and hope are in God."