Once, For All

Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart for sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever. Hebrews 7:26-28

I learned recently that I’m a Concrete Sequential learner, which essentially means, if a teacher gives a syllabus I expect her to follow it A to Z, directions from beginning to end, etc. and if things don’t proceed that way, I’m typically thrown for a loop. You might be able to tell this when I talk to you: I’m concentrating on each and every word as if it’s your last, because I want to understand precisely what you mean. All that to say, I like charts, graphs and yes, tables. So, when we had a table in our study of Hebrews chapter 7, a switch was flipped for me once I had the chance to sit back and look at it. For all you Concrete Sequentials out there, you’re welcome (and for all you Abstract Randoms, sorry for the lack of color)

I was speechless when I saw that even though God, our Great High Priest, the priest who had no need to offer a sacrifice for himself before he offered one for the people, (the typical practice for Levitical priests). He was perfect. But for us, he became everything in the right hand column in men’s eyes: evil, sinful, guilty before the Sanhedrin of being King of the Jews, they did their best to contaminate him and his reputation, they spit on him, hurled insults at him and humiliated him by tearing his clothes off and subjected him to the worst kind of death, that among common thieves.

But here’s the beautiful thing about all that: when Christ murmured, “It is finished” just before he took his last breath on the cross. He was right, no more 24/7 sacrificial worship, no more letter of the law, just this acceptance, that, once for all, it was done. As our study leader pointed out, the priests were always standing. Their job was NEVER done. In 8:12 of Hebrews we see “when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool”. Is there any better visual than this?

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