A Suffering Savior: The Sufficiency of Christ’s Sacrifice - Hebrews 10:1-14
On Friday of this week we will come together to remember the death of our Lord on the cross. We will come together and talk about how He was beaten, tortured, mocked and how His blood was shed. But with all of this focus on the cross it’s important for us to remember the reason: Why the cross? Why did Jesus have to die? As we consider these questions it is helpful to remember what God put in place prior to the coming of Christ – the shadow of the Old Testament sacrifices.
What we have to remember is that before Jesus died many sacrifices had already been made and much blood had been shed. By God’s design, generations of people had regularly offered sacrifices – shed the blood of animals – in order to maintain their standing and relationship with God. But for all the blood that was shed the Scriptures are clear that it was never sufficient to save. Instead, these sacrifices and offerings were intended to show the need for the greater, better and all sufficient sacrifice yet to come.
The Insufficiency of the Old Testament Sacrificial System (10:1-4)
- The Sacrificial System as a Shadow (vs. 1) – The writer of Hebrews refers to the Old Testament sacrificial system as a shadow. In many ways it revealed the form and outline of what was needed, but it wasn’t sufficient. It only represented and pointed forward to the all-sufficient sacrifice to come (Hebrews 9:11-12).
- The Sacrificial System – Ongoing and Insufficient (vv. 2-4)
- Ongoing – One of the clearest signs of the insufficiency of the sacrificial system is the fact that it could never end. Day after day, year after year sacrifices were continually made – never offering complete, lasting atonement.
- Insufficient – The Scriptures teach that the forgiveness of sins requires the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22), but the Scriptures are also clear that the blood of animals would never be sufficient. These sacrifices showed faith and obedience to God, but they never provided the atonement or forgiveness that was needed (Hebrews 10:4).
The Obedience of Christ and His Willingness to be our Sacrifice (vv. 5-10)
- The Purposes of Sacrifices – Attributing quotes from Psalm 40 to Jesus, this passage acknowledges that God never intended for the Old Testament sacrificial system to bring salvation. He isn’t satisfied and salvation isn’t accomplished through outward obedience to religious traditions (Psalm 40).
- The Obedience of the Son –After acknowledging the insufficiency of the sacrificial system the writer of Hebrews reminds us of the Son’s obedience to the Father’s will (Philippians 2:8).
The Sufficiency of Christ’s Sacrifice (10:11-14)
The Old Testament sacrificial system was important and one of its primary purposes was to show it’s own insufficiency. The insufficiency of the sacrificial system stands in stark contrast to the complete sufficiency of the sacrifice of Jesus.
- Many Priests vs. One Better Priest (Jesus) (vv. 11-12) – For 2,000 years priests served as shadows of the perfect priest who was come. For generations priests were appointed and without exception those priests died. But Jesus came as our great and eternal high priest. He made a once-for-all sacrifice and now He lives forever to intercede for us before God (Hebrews 7:21-25).
- Many Sacrifices vs. One Perfect Sacrifice (vv. 11-12) - The shadow was never sufficient – it was merely a shadow. For years the blood of bulls and goats was shed, but they could never take away sins. These many, many sacrifices stand in stark contrast to Jesus’s single, once-for-all sacrifice for sins (Hebrews 9:24-28).
- Insufficient for Salvation vs. Eternal Salvation Secured (vv. 12-14) – The OT sacrificial system was never sufficient. It could not forgive sins. It was ongoing, never ending and it could never save. On the other hand, the sacrifice of Jesus was fully sufficient. After His death and resurrection Jesus “sat down” at the right hand of God; salvation was accomplished and He is awaiting the day when His enemies will become His footstool (Heb. 2:14-15; 9:11-12).
Conclusion: The results and benefits of the work of Christ are innumerable, but many of them are mentioned as the passage continues: Read Hebrews 10:15-25 and consider all that we receive in Christ.