1. How does this passage help you understand the relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament? How does Christ speaking through the Psalms (verse 5) change your view of the Old Testament? Why do believers need to understand this?
2. How might this passage change the way you view the Lord’s supper? Why is Christ’s physical body so important for our salvation?
3. How does this passage show Jesus as both Lion and Lamb? Do you think you have a balanced view of Jesus as both of these things? What can help us get a better balance?
Scripture: Hebrews 10:1-18
I. The bad news is that nothing you do brings forgiveness from God.
A. Animal sacrifices which were required in the law given through Moses are called a shadow of the reality to come (vs. 1). God required these animal sacrifices, but this sacrificial system was designed by God to be only temporary. Something better was coming that could truly bring us forgiveness. These repeated sacrifices could never bring us final forgiveness with God according to vs. 1-2. Verse 1 says that these sacrifices never make perfect those who draw near to God. What does the author mean by perfect? He does not mean sinless. He means clean or forgiven.
B. Verse 14 says, “For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” The offering of Jesus on the cross has made us clean and forgiven for all time. Christ’s sacrifice has removed our guilt from us. We are fully forgiven because Christ died for our sins on the cross. We didn’t do anything to make us forgiven. Christ did all the work. The author asks a logical question in verse 2. If animal sacrifices had brought you final forgiveness from God, then would you need to offer those sacrifices anymore?
C. That does not mean that the animal sacrifices accomplished nothing. Verse 3 says that these sacrifices were a reminder of sins. “It was my sin that caused this animal to be sacrificed and die. I need a Savior.” Our desperate need for a Savior is also pointed out in verse 4. “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Impossible! Animal sacrifices cannot bring you forgiveness. Every effort that you make to please God by yourself is never enough. We need a better sacrifice and a better Savior.
II. The good news is that what Jesus did on the cross brings forgiveness from God.
A. We see the difference between animal sacrifices and Christ’s sacrifice in vs. 5. It’s the body of Jesus that will pay for our sins. It’s the body of Jesus, sacrificed for us, that will finally bring us forgiveness. See also verse 10. For this reason, Jesus said to his disciples as he passed out the bread at the Last Supper in Luke 22:19: “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” It was His body, broken for us, that would bring us forgiveness from God. We know that the priests in Moses’ day could not bring full forgiveness because of what we read in verse 11. The priests’ work was futile. It never stopped. It never came to an end because they could never bring us final forgiveness by their sacrifices.
B. Verse 12 says that when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. This is the fulfillment of what David had written about Jesus the Messiah in Psalm 110:1: “The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’” The right hand of God is a position of power and judgment. Jesus is now waiting for the last act in the story of our redemption. At the end of the story Jesus returns to earth to save His people and judge His enemies. Jesus is both Savior and Judge. He is both lamb and lion. The Holy Spirit assures you that your sins are really forgiven (vs. 15). The animal sacrifices did not bring about final forgiveness from God and access to God. But when Jesus was sacrificed on the cross, our sins were finally and fully forgiven.
Don’t trust in your good works. Only Jesus’ sacrifice can bring you forgiveness from God.
The letter to the Hebrews
Commentaries on Hebrews by Thomas Schreiner and Raymond Brown
Bible study by Michael Kruger