Summary: 3rd in series (Section 3)on Hebrews. This message was preached on Easter Sunday and focuses on the sacrifice of Jesus and the torn veil
Most of us have a hard time with blood – especially outside of our own flesh. Most of us, with the exception of those who are emergency responders or in the medical field, get a bit queasy when we see a little blood. It doesn’t have to be oozing, gushing, or pumping – sometimes just a little bit of blood can cause a grown adult to turn pale and drop like a rock.
Yet, you cannot look at the God of the Old Testament and not see that there was a lot of blood involved. Sheep, goats, doves, lambs, and bullocks were all sacrificed and burned on the altar as an act of worship continuously from the days of Abraham to the times of Jesus. The tabernacle of Moses was a place of killing and there was the shedding of blood as was the temple of Solomon and the rebuilt temples of Ezra and Herod.
But why? It all goes back to the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve lived there in perfect harmony with God until they listened to the deceiver and ate of the tree of good and evil. The consequence of their distrust of God and disobedience of his word was death – the end of life.
If you remember they were forced from the Garden and God killed animals to give them clothing. And the first sacrifice was made to Blood is shed because all life is in the blood. In Genesis 3:21 we are told that “21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” Animals were killed because of the sin of men.
God instituted the sacrifice of animals in order that we would understand that it is sin that destroys life.
In the book of Hebrews we have seen that there is a whole great order of sacrifices that has gone on for centuries. The priests of Levi have killed thousands of animals and split gallons of blood to mediate between man and God – but it was never enough – until the coming of the perfect sacrifice… Jesus
11 When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.
When Jesus came – everything changed. Over the past few weeks we have seen this taught by the author of Hebrews and a variety of different ways.
Jesus is more than an angel – He is God the creator.
Jesus is more than a man – He is God in flesh.
Jesus is more than a messenger – He is the message.
Jesus is more than the Sabbath – He is the rest we seek.
Jesus is more than a teacher of the old Law – He is the New Law.
Jesus did not enter into Herod’s Temple to offer prayers and act as a Levitical Priest – He came into the true tabernacle where God dwells as a Priest like Melchizedek – without beginning or end.
And now we learn that Jesus is more than the giver of an animal sacrifice – He is the sacrifice. His blood was shed to pay the price for our sin.
When Jesus died there is nothing that illustrates this simple fact more powerfully than the tearing of the veil in Herod’s Temple
31 “Make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen, with cherubim worked into it by a skilled craftsman. 32 Hang it with gold hooks on four posts of acacia wood overlaid with gold and standing on four silver bases. 33 Hang the curtain from the clasps and place the ark of the Testimony behind the curtain.
Let me tell you a little about this veil. It was nothing like what you think it was like. Most of us see something thin and light. This veil was so much more. It was the separation and boundary between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies.
The Holy Place was a room with three piece in it; a golden lamp stand with seven lights on it; a table with twelve loaves of bread (one for each of the 12 tribes of Israel) on it, and a small altar where incense was burned continuously. This room – in Herod’s temple was about 40 feet wide 80 feet long and 40 feet high was limited to only the priests of Israel. This room was the closest that man could get to God – for in the inner room separated from man by this veil was the ark of the agreement was supposed to be kept and where the Glory of God dwelt.