Summary: The reason that the sacrifice of Jesus was the greatest ever is because it is the only sacrifice that ever worked. All the animal sacrifices just pointed to the need for blood to be shed and life paid for cleansing from sin.
One of my favorite poets is William L. Stidger, and I want to begin this message with one
of his poems-
I SAW GOD WASH THE WORLD
I saw God wash the world last night
With his sweet showers on high,
And then, when morning came, I saw
Him hang it out to dry.
He washed each tiny blade of grass
And every trembling tree;
He flung his showers against the hill,And swept the billowing sea.
The white rose is a cleaner white,
The red rose is more red,
Since God washed every fragrant face
And put them all to bed.
There's not a bird, there's not a bee
That wings along the way
But is a cleaner bird and bee
Than it was yesterday.
I saw God wash the world last night.
Ah, would He had washed me
As clean of all my dust and dirt
As that old white birch tree.
We know it was not dust and dirt that he longed to have cleaned, for he did
not need God’s help to wash that off. He could have taken a bath or a shower, or even
jumped into a lake to achieve that goal. What he is longing for is the universal desire to be
forgiven and cleansed from the dirt of the soul so that he could be free from all guilt for his
sins. The good news is that God has made this possible. He did not do it last night, and He did
not do it by means of rain. He did it at Calvary by means of the sacrifice of His Son. We
used to sing the old hymns that went-What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of
Jesus, and Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. I have written what Stidger could have
I saw God wash the world that day
When His Son died on the cross.
His Son Jesus had hell to pay
To spare us eternal loss.
He shed His blood for all sinners,
Now all can be forgiven.
In Him we all can be winners,
Living forever in heaven.
It was the greatest sacrifice
That any had ever made.
For cleansing sin it did suffice
All our debt has now been paid.
I saw God wash the world that day
When He gave His Son to die.
He washed all of our sin away,
And from guilt did purify. That is what Heb. 1:3 is saying by the phrase, “After He had provided
purification for sins….” That is when He ascended and sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in
heaven. Jesus accomplished His goal for coming to earth when He died for the sins of the
world, and by that sacrifice made it possible for any who put their trust in Him to be
cleansed and made fit to join Him in the presence of God forever. There has never been a
sacrifice that achieved so much for so many. History is filled with sacrifices that have
saved the earthly lives of many people, but never has their been another sacrifice that
cleansed from sin and saved people for all eternity. Jesus has no competition in this area,
for there are none who even claim that they have been able to make it possible for all sin
to be forgiven by their sacrifice. Jesus is the greatest in every area where He competes,
but in this area there are no competitors, and so His is the greatest sacrifice in the
If you study the word sacrifice in the New Testament you will discover that the book of
Hebrews uses the word more than all the rest of the New Testament together. The
Hebrew Christians it is written to have grown up all their lives going to the temple and
depending upon the sacrifice of animals and the ministry of the priests and high priest. It
is the only sacrifice they knew, and they needed to be educated in understanding the once
for all sacrifice of Jesus that did away with all that was basic to their Old Testament faith.
Once they could grasp how superior this sacrifice was they could let go of the old without
fear and anxiety that they were forsaking the plan of God.
Hebrews does recognize that the old system was God’s plan at the time, but that in
Christ there is a better and complete plan. In Heb. 9:23 we read, “It was necessary, then,
for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly
things themselves with better sacrifices than these.” Then he goes on to say in verse 26,
“But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the