For more than 1,000 years, the Jewish sacrificial system had been in place. Its strict requirements were sometimes followed closely, and on other occasions, its demands were ignored all together. Yet the Jews knew that the only way to pay for for a person's sins required the loss of a life (the shedding of blood) and that this holy rite required the ministry of a priest. By Jesus' time, this system had become terribly distorted. Different groups of "influential religious people" fought over how the sacrifices should be made & where people could legitimately purchase the proper sacrificial animals. All of this religious formalism, petty squabbling and personal profiteering broke the missionary heart of God.
The ancient prophecies given to Adam, Moses, and David had declared that in the fullness of time, in perfect accordance to Father's purposeful plan of redemption, the Deliverer would come. That time had arrived in Jesus. This young man from Nazareth, who was deity incarnate, had come into the world to be both priest and sacrifice. He would to be the final, and ultimate sacrifice that would put the priests out of the sacrificial business. From the cruel cross, Jesus, the perfect Man and perfect high priest, offered the perfect sacrifice, the sacrifice of his own life's blood. With pity and pathos, he prayed "Father, forgive them" (Luke 23:34) God the Father would raise Jesus from the dead by the power of His Holy Spirit and in so doing, vindicate every claim Jesus made. Furthermore, the ressurrection would demonstrate that the sin debt of every person God's free gift of grace, had been wiped out by Jesus' perfect sacrifice.
Jesus is the one who has become our legal advocate, the One who pleads our cause for the crime of sin that each of has committed. He is also the one making the sacrifice and paying the penalty for us. He is the sacrifice that sets us free from that which we deserve, separation from all that is good, beautiful and true. Only one who had lived a perfect, sinless could have accomplished this task.
Today, Jesus is our high priest, and we must never let anyone (not even a pastor, priest or saint) come between us and the God who passionately loves, pursues & desires intimacy with us. Our heavenly, holy, and human high priest has become the solid ground of the our assurance of our forgiveness & salvation. Jesus paid a debt he did not owe so that might receive the forgiveness and favor of God that we could never, ever earn. Receive strength for your journey today from the One who has made you for Himself. Freedom and forgives is here!
“And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall present the live goat. And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins. And he shall put them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness." (Lev.16:20-21)
"For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Cor. 5:21- ESV)
"For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time."
(1 Timothy 2:5-6)
*Read also Psalm 103:9-12, & Heb. 9:11-14