And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. –Hebrews 10:11-14
I think I read too many health and medical articles online. There are so many warnings about sitting too long with the danger of getting blood clots in your legs, that I have programmed an app on my phone to sound an alarm every 20 minutes when I’m working at my desk. This reminds me to stand up and walk around a bit. It’s an interesting thought that a majority of us now work sitting down and stand up to rest. I suspect the opposite has been true for most of human history.
We see it in the passage copied above. The priest stands daily at his service. He is at work all day, every day offering repeatedly the same sacrifices which can never take away sins. On the one hand, the futility is depressing. His entire life was working for something that didn’t work! On the other hand, it is uplifting because the blood of the sacrifices shadowed or copied the blood that would work: Christ’s precious blood.
So while the priest would stand daily, Christ sat down at the right hand of God. How come? Because He had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins. Think of it: His work is done so He rests. He sat down. This is enormously encouraging to those of us who are tortured and ravaged by sin. We cannot make the sacrifice complete. We cannot improve upon it. Jesus is not standing waiting for us to do our part. He has finished and has sat down at the Right Hand of Majesty!
This is one reason that many of the Reformers no longer continued the Roman mass, in which “priests” offer the sacrifice of Christ again and again. The passage above rules out entirely any notion that the sacrifice of Jesus is somehow repeated at each service.
Christian worship, which is covenant renewal worship, is about events that move forward, in a historical sequence, from a beginning, to a development, to a climax, to the results of that climax. We know where we belong in that history, since for by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. And that’s the gospel.
Come hear it preached and enacted in the Supper this Sunday!