PJ’s Daily Devotional for Friday, March 31, 2017.
I have had heard it asked, mostly by younger people, but not exclusively, “What does a man who lived 2,000 years ago have to do with me today?” At times, this is a sincere question, but usually it is a rhetorical question used by people who want to separate themselves from the claims of Jesus Christ on their lives.
So, here is the quick answer: What Jesus did for humanity 2,000 year ago, He did “once for all”!
Listen to the Scripture from which this comes: “Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:25-28).
The context of this passage is talking about the former things; the sacrificial laws of Israel and how the high priest could only enter in God’s presence once a year to make a blood offering (from animals) for the substitutionary atonement of sin (the life in the blood paid the price for the wages of sin (death) according to the ancient covenant of God). But Jesus is greater than the sacrificial system (which was a shadow of that which was ushered in by Jesus). Jesus made the final perfect sacrifice for sin with His own shed blood on the Cross of Calvary as the final once for all substitutionary atonement for sin. So, no longer do priests need to make daily sacrifices, morning and night, and no longer does Israel need a high priest to enter the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement and no longer must a scapegoat be released with the sins of Israel laid on it, for Jesus Christ, the perfect Passover Lamb, has done it “once for all.” Jesus has fulfilled the sacrificial systems of the priesthood (Jesus is the great High Priest), of the sacrifices (Jesus is the final perfect sacrifice), of the Temple (God’s presence no longer dwells in the Holy of Holies, but in people through the indwelling Holy Spirit).
“Once” means it does not need to happen again; the repetition of blood sacrifice that the Old Covenant required has been fulfilled through the One. Sin has been atoned for; the wrath of God for sin has been taken upon Jesus Christ; and the New Covenant has been eternally sealed. The sacrifice has happened; it is done!
“For all” means that Jesus has done this for everyone, for all time. Not just as a fulfillment of the Jewish expectancy of Messiah, but as the pronouncement to the world of God’s promises made to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David through His Word: Jesus ushered in an eternal kingdom that would reign over the whole world. No longer are the promises of God for one ethnic people (the Jews), but for all people over all nations (this was promised long before Jesus came and is good news for all of us who were not born into one small exclusive ethnic group). The borders of nation-states have been eternally torn down by the Sovereign God who reigns from Heaven. What Christ did 2,000 years ago is available for you today and will be consummated upon His return! That is what the Scripture talks about when it refers to Jesus coming again for a second time, “not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”
If you still aren’t convinced of the relevancy of Jesus Christ in your life, then look at the next verses, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin [for that was already taken care of in his first coming!] but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:27, 28).
The Scriptures emphasizes that you will die (undisputable fact you must face no matter how young you are!) and upon death face judgment (every person will give an account for his or her life before a holy God and receive the rightful reward for his or her sin).
If you buy the first part of this sentence, but not the second, you are rolling the dice. Don’t gamble on eternity! The Bible is not filled with random fanciful stories and moral codes; it is the one coherent story of God’s love for His creation, His acts of redemption throughout history, and how you can know Him, not just in this short life of 80 or so years, but for all of eternity (Heaven and Hell are real, and eternity is a long time!).
So, what does Jesus have to do with your life today? ETERNITY!