Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Perfect Sacrifice

We celebrate the Lord's Supper each Sunday at Redeemer. Two weeks ago, as I invited God's Covenant people to Christ's Table, I was struck anew with the absolute sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice for the forgiveness of my (our) sins. In particular, Hebrews 10 came to mind and the stark difference between Christ's one-time sacrifice of Himself and the sacrificial ministry of the priests in the Old Testament-

And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God... Hebrews 10:11-12

I worked for a time as a doorman at a high-rise in downtown Chicago. Next to my building was another high-rise with luxury apartments. There was an older gentleman who was the elevator operator in that building. He had been doing the job for almost 20 years when I met him. Every day, he stood there taking people to whatever floor they requested. The monotony! The sameness, the dullness, the repetitiveness, what boredom! He was standing constantly, his work never ended. He never really relaxed with constant high traffic of people coming and going during the hours he worked.

The priests had to stand to make daily sacrifices. Standing daily is a vivid picture of a work that is never, ever done. Restlessness describes the work of a priest who had "sacrifice duty". The Levitical priest could not rest. He stood, and repeated the bloody work daily, constantly.

Jesus Christ on the other hand, according to Hebrews 10:12-

But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God...

What a difference! The complete perfection and sufficiency of the offering Christ gave nullified any need for more sacrifices! He offered Himself once- no need to do so daily- once was enough. In further comparison with the priests of old, instead of standing in a constant posture of incompletion- He sat down at the right hand of God. The ultimate picture of rest and satisfaction- to be seated next to His Father. Finally- a return to His pre-incarnate place next to His Father- only now after the glorious work of Redemption! The One with the Name above every name!

When we partake of the Lord's Supper, it is not another sacrifice or Christ somehow sacrificing Himself again. Instead, the Lord's Supper, among other things (WCF, Chapter 29) is a celebration of the finished, sufficient, victorious, sacrifice Jesus provided for the complete remission of all my (our) sins.

1 comment:

Frontier Forest said...

So many Pastors in today’s
“Emerging Church” fail miserably in portraying the true meaning and the far reaching effects of desecrating the Lord’s Supper. So many times I too am guilty; partaking of the holy elements, without convicting regard to Paul’s stern warning for personal examination and unconfused sin. (I Corinthians 11: 27-34) Before your next observance of the Lord’s Supper, please read and meditate on Paul’s warnings and the severe judgment that follows a cavalier attitude about this most holy of all sacraments.