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  • Writer's pictureWayne Shelton

The Book of Hebrews - The Finished Work of Christ

Heb. 10:1-18

In his letter to the Hebrews the writer has spent a lot of time showing the limitations of the old covenant system of worship. But now, in our passage this week, he is going to argue that this message is really nothing new. The idea that animal sacrifices are provisional and partial, and that God is not fully pleased by them is not found just in the New Testament; it is found in the Old Testament too! Abandoning those sacrifices and turning to Jesus was God’s plan for us from the start.

In short, the writer wants us to go back and read the Old Testament afresh. When we do, we will see clues about the limitations of animal sacrifices everywhere.

Remember, the first readers were largely Jewish Christians who were thinking about returning to the old sacrificial system. But the writer wants to show them that, if they look back through the Old Testament, they will see that God’s plan for a new and better system was always there.

Throughout our passage the writer will make several arguments demonstrating that the old covenant order was but a shadow – provisional – of the good things to come. He will conclude this central section presenting the high priesthood of Jesus by noting that when Jesus offered a single sacrifice he sat down. Unlike the priests of the old covenant order, Jesus finished his work and sat down at the right hand of God.

Some of the beauty and power of this picture might escape the modern reader today. For many of us in the modern world do our work sitting down. Even as I am preparing this article, I am sitting at a makeshift desk in a hotel room. But many today do much of their work sitting down. And when we stand up, it’s a sign that work is over for the moment and we’re off to do something else.

However, for much of history, the act of sitting down meant that you had finished work, not that you were beginning it. In a world where most working people labored in the fields or in energetic crafts like building, only a few sat down. Most people stood to work and sat to rest. As one commentator points out, that is the contrast which the writer is making here between the priests who served under the old covenant order, offering regular sacrifices in the tabernacle, and the position Jesus has now taken after completing his work. They all stand daily at their duties; he has finished his work, and now sits at God’s right hand. He doesn’t have to offer his sacrifice anymore; he’s done it, and it’s complete.

In this finished work of Christ, we see what the old covenant could not accomplish in many offerings, Christ accomplished ‘by a single offering’ (14). I hope you can join us this coming Lord’s Day as we look at ‘The Finished Work of Christ’ from Hebrews 10:1-18.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Wayne



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