How Jesus relates to the Law

  1. In what sense was the Law a “shadow” (10:1)? What are the “good things to come” in 10:1? Explain the benefit of animal sacrifices according to Hebrews 10:1–18. Contrast the sacrifice of Jesus to the animal sacrifices of the Temple. How is the sacrifice of Christ superior to animal sacrifices? How is Jesus’ high priestly role different from the priests in the Temple? To what and to whom does Hebrews 10:14 refer? How can Christians today relate this information to their lives?

The Law was seen in the Old Testament as a Shadow of things to come. Specifically, of Jesus’ substitutionary death on the cross. The law provided the purpose of revealing sin as shown in Romans 7:7, but in this situation it is referring to the the sacrifices which were used as the cleansing for our sins. “As it is, the sacrifices serve as a regular annual reminder of sins, since it’s impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take sins away”[1] but Jesus is the final sacrifice for sins.

Since Jesus’ sacrifice only had to be done 1 time, it made it so is by its very nature superior to the animal sacrifices simply because it cleansed humanity of sins and made it so that no more sacrifices were necessary. These animal sacrifices can be looked at as simply staying the hand of God and delaying judgment until the next day, month or year. But Jesus’ sacrifice actually satisfied the demand for Justice. Because Jesus’ sacrifice was so much superior, so is the priestly role Jesus holds as well. Jesus role was as a high priest who never had to be elected. The other priests had to be elected by their peers. When their work was done, others had to take up the work for them, which led to a never-ending chain. Jesus on the other hand was done once and for all. Jesus was able to sit down at God’s right hand and wait for God’s plan to be accomplished and Jesus’ enemies to be made footstools for him.

In verse 14 we see a verse that has led many Christians to some justification of perfection theology as a viable form of theology whereby they think saved humans may be saved on this side of heaven. This verse does mean that eventually all of humanity will be perfected, it just happens that this will be accomplished at death or when Jesus returns (Philippians 1:6). However, we can see God will make us more like Jesus and move us closer to perfection on this side of heaven. But Jesus’ perfect sacrifice will take effect in eternity and we can look forward to the day we become perfect. Christians today can use this knowledge as some of the hope we can look forward to and in our day to day life we can know that Jesus’ death has paid the price for our sins.

[1] Wright, N.T., Hebrews for Everyone, London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2004, 105.

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