As everyone knows, today is Easter. Easter is the celebration of the singular greatest day in all of history. No day compares to what took place 2000 years ago when Jesus’ disciples went to the Garden were they had laid his body and found the stone rolled away, and they heard from the lips of Angels, “He is not here, but has risen.” In those words lie all hope.
Some of you who sit here today, have “celebrated” Easter in your entire life, however you have never CELEBRATED Easter. Your celebration up to this point has been vanity, for you have not been struck in your heart by the words “He is not here, but has risen.” You have yet to experience the full and complete weight of that reality as it relates to you eternity.
- Hebrews 10:1-14 – “For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. 2Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? 3But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5Consequently, when Christa came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me;6in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. 7Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’” 8When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”
To grasp the hope found in the resurrection, we must understand death. Death exists because sin exists. This is crucial to understand. Romans 6:23 says, “the wages of sin is death.” Therefore, when kids ask, why do people die? The answer is because it is God’s punishment for our sin. It is the penalty for our rebellion. It is the consequence for rejecting the Author of Life.
The next question is where did this sin come from? It came into the world through the first man, Adam.
- Romans 5:12 – “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— “
What is interesting is that the first thing that physically died on this planet was not Adam or Eve. Yes, they died eventually, but not immediately. The first creature that died is found in Genesis 3:21.
- Genesis 3:21 - “And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.”
From that point on we begin to see a pattern of animal sacrifices begin.
- Genesis 4 - where Abel sacrifices a sheep to God and God was pleased with Abel sacrifice, but was displeased with Cain's sacrifice of fruit from the ground.
- Genesis 22 - where God called Abraham to Mount Moriah and told him to sacrifice his son, Isaac; however right before the Abraham was about to kill him, God intervened and provided a substitute sacrifice, a ram.
- Exodus 12 – Many of you may watch this tonight on ABC when you watch the Ten Commandments. Perhaps the pinnacle of the Old Testament, whereby God killed the first born of all people in Egypt, except those who killed a lamb and spread the blood over their doorposts. Upon seeing the blood of this lam, the Angel of Death would passover their home, and no one would die in that household.
- Exodus 29 - where God sets up a ceremonial system for the consecration of the priest were two lambs are sacrificed a day for seven days, one in the morning and one at twilight. This sacrifice would be required before a priest could serve the Lord.
- Leviticus 16 – We see God implementing a sacrifice of a goat. This is what was known as the Day of Atonement.
- Leviticus 16:15-16 – ““Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it over the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat. 16Thus he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel and because of their transgressions, all their sins.”
Why is this important? Why should you care about the animal sacrifice in garden , the lamb sacrifice of Abel, the ram sacrifice of Abraham, the Passover lamb sacrifice for Egypt, the consecration sacrifice of the Priest, and the yearly sacrifice on the Day of Atonement? The reason is because of Hebrews 10:1.
- Hebrews 10:1 – “For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. “
The Day of Atonement is just a symbol, it is an outline of the true object. This is also true for the Passover Lamb, the ram of Abraham, the lamb of Abel and the sacrifice in the Garden of Eden. Each of these things are a form of a greater reality. What is this greater reality? What is this good thing to come?
Single Offering of the Body
It is the good news of Jesus Christ. Look at verse 5, “Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me.” The good thing, the true substance, the object that cast the shadow is the body of Jesus Christ. This is why John the Baptist says in John 1:29, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Jesus is object that cast the shadow that we see in the Garden, with Abel, with Abraham, with Moses, and with Israel. All of these shadows point to the substance of the single offering of the body of Jesus Christ.
This is the reason why Jesus came to earth...to die. He did not come to be a good moral teacher, or to lead a conservative political party. The Son of the Living God left the glory in Heaven to be the single sacrifice for all of humanity, to have his flesh torn apart and to bleed out so as to cover the shame of wretchedness, to die in our place, to cause death to Passover you, to atone for our sins.
And the sacrifice of Jesus Christ upon the cross is not like the shadow that was cast before it. The sacrifice of the Lamb of God has power. Jesus accomplished what no sacrifice accomplished before. The sacrifices of the shadow could not perfect those who draw near. This is why year after year after year these sacrifices of Israel continued, because they didn’t work. Look at verse 4, “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.“ This was not their purpose. Their purpose is to point to Christ, for it is only the blood of Jesus that can take away our sins.
Perfected for All Time
Look with me at verse 12-14, “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” Let’s read it one more time and let these words sink in.
Once again, we see a single sacrifice. The death of Jesus happened one time and one time only. It is blasphemy to say that Jesus is sacrificed over and over again. What did Jesus do after he offered his body for sin? He sat down. Now compare this to verse 11, “And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.” But when Christ offers his body, instead of continueing to stand, what does he do? He sits down. Why?
Because when Jesus offered himself the work was completed. It was done. There was nothing left to do to pay for your sins. The blood of Christ was sufficient to pay your debt to God. This is why Jesus cries out “It is finished” right before he dies on the cross. He had accomplished what he set out to do.
Which is what? To perfect you. Verse 14, “For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” It is by the single offering of the body of Christ that you go from sinner to sinless. 1 John 1:7 says, “the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” It is not our blood and sweat that takes away sin. It is only the blood of Jesus that has this power. Ephesians 1:7, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” It is the blood of Christ that provides redemption, that provides forgiveness. It is grace alone. Romans 3:23, “or all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” The one and only way that you are justified before God is through redemption that is found in the blood of Jesus. There is no other way to deal with your sin issue. The body of Christ is the only solution, He is your only hope, and his body is sufficient to pay for all your sins.
Why is this important? It is important because some of you have been taught by false teachers. Some of you have sat in a religion that does not preach and teach Hebrews 10, 1 John 1, Ephesians 1, Romans 3. You have been wrongly taught that Jesus sacrifice was necessary, but that it was not sufficient.
Do you hear the difference? Necessary and sufficient are not the same words. There difference makes all the difference. You have been wrongly taught that you have to atone for some of your own sins; you have been wrongly taught that Jesus’ blood didn’t perfect you for all time; you were wrongly taught that you have not been justified by grace. Instead you were told that you have to perform some penance to absolve you from your sins, whether that be hail Mary’s, the Lord’s Prayer, communion, confession, church attendance, etc. The Bible speaks of none of these things having the power to pay for your sin. No sacrifice that you perform can pay the debt that you owe God. The bible is abundantly clear that it is Christ alone; so stop attempting to earn your forgiveness, for you can’t. Instead find refuge in the single sacrifice of Christ
The Resurrection is the Proof
So what does this have to do with the resurrection? How is the empty tomb connected to the sufficient work of Jesus Christ on the cross? Everything.
- 1 Corinthians 15:17 – “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. “
No legitimate scholar debates the life of Jesus. It is almost universally excepted that Jesus existed. It is not a question of his existence. The question is, “Is He the Lamb of god who comes to take away the sin of the world.” That is what each one of you have to determine. Who do you say that Jesus is?
If his bones lie in a tomb, then eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die, but if he has risen, and He has overcome our greatest problem, death, then I encourage you to listen to what he has to say.
The Lord’s Supper
Today we will celebrate the sufficiency of the body of Christ by remembering what he has done for us by eating bread and drinking juice.
- Matthew 26:26-28 - “Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”
This table is open to every follower of Christ. However, if you have not turned and placed your faith in the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice, then this table is not for you. However, I pray that by the Grace of God someday it will be.