Jesus: Our Atonement

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Imagine this scene..

  The people have constructed the tabernacle according to God’s specific instructions.  The outer court is built.  The inner court is established.  Each piece of furniture is carefully placed in the tabernacle.  The people of Israel gather together on a particular day to offer sacrifices that will cleanse them of their sin.  It’s a sobering day, the Day of Atonement. Yet, it’s a day that would offer an opportunity for worship among the Israelites.  

Now imagine as the high priest enters the Holy of Holies through the veil to stand before the Ark of the Covenant. This is where the presence of God, represented in a cloud, descends.  The high priest takes the blood from the sacrifices and sprinkles it over the mercy seat that sits atop the ark. God had promised to meet with His people in this sacred place and to cover their sins through the blood being poured out.  The blood serves as a covering for the people’s sins that year.  God was satisfied… Or was He?  Could the blood of goats and calves really be sufficient to take away the people’s sin?  Or was there more to what God had commanded?  Could it be that this would serve as a shadow of the heavenly to point them to the One who would pour out His blood once and for all?

As we’ve seen in the previous weeks, each piece of furniture within the tabernacle was intended to point to Jesus so that the people would lift their eyes and worship Him.  Jesus is the High Priest who entered the heavenly tabernacle to live and make intercession for us through the veil of His flesh.  He is also the very One who shed His blood to make atonement for the sins of the people and to be THE eternal atonement.

The word “atonement” is closely associated with the Greek word, hilasmos, which means “propitiation” or “mercy seat”.  Blue Letter Bible defines this as “the means of appeasing, a propitiation.”

According to Merriam-Webster’s, atonement is the idea of “reconciliation of God and humankind through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.”

Let’s look Look at Hebrews 9:11-12 to see what the text has to say about Jesus being our atonement.  As you come to each reference to Christ, pause to see what you learn about Him and what He has done for you.

“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.”

Continue reading Hebrews 9:24-25.

“For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own.”

Ask yourself some questions:

  • What did Christ do according to these verses?
  • How often does Jesus have to enter and offer Himself?
  • How is this different than the role of the earthly high priests?
  • Whose sins did Jesus make atonement for according to these verses? How did He do this?
  • What did His blood obtain for us?
  • Did you realize that atonement had to be made for sin?
  • Do you find yourself continually trying to offer up atonement for your sin? Is that even possible?  (Think back through what you have just read.)
  • Who must you look to for forgiveness from your sins?

There is nothing you can do to offer up a sufficient sacrifice to God to cleanse  and forgive you of sin. God is only satisfied with the perfection found in His Son, Jesus Christ!  That’s why Jesus coming as our atonement is news worth sharing.

Since Jesus has made atonement for your sin, what response does that produce in you?  Would worship be a proper response? 

  • It might be to cry out in repentance and faith in the finished work of Jesus by believing in Him and accepting the gift of eternal life. 
  • It might be to just sit in awe and wonder of the beautiful design of God’s redemption provided through His son.

Take some time today to worship the One who has made atonement with the Father on your behalf!

CarlottaGillespie_2013

If you’ve been around Transform Student Ministries the past couple of years, you’ve probably met Carlotta! Carlotta has been aconference/camp staffer, office volunteer, summer intern, teacher/mentor, and recently came on staff full-time as Transform’s Special Programs Coordinator  Carlotta’s love for the Lord is contagious, and being around her makes you want to know more about her Savior.

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