Advent Readings Day 19
Reading: Hebrews 10:10-18
“And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Hebrews 10:10
A few weeks ago I got caught in a sheep herd. It was quite by accident. I was walking in an area of the city where the slaughterhouse is and all of a sudden I was surrounded by 3 dozen sheep that were being driven from one side of the road to the other. For a few moments, I too was a sheep that was being driven as my feet and legs were surrounded.
It is a common sight around Addis Ababa to see dozens of sheep and goats on the corner for sale. However, when a holiday comes, then the streets are filled with sheep and goats that soon become a major component of religious feasting.
When I read today’s passage, I began to wonder what it was like in Jesus’ time to walk the streets right before religious festivals that surely would have been filled with sheep waiting for slaughter. They were the sacrifice that would cover the sins of the people. Sheep were a sign of hope and forgiveness. Their blood through the religious rituals of the priest would cover the sins of the people once again.
But now, The Lamb of God has arrived. The Messiah is here. He has shown up and covered the sins of people. The One Sacrifice once and for all. There is no longer a need for religious ritual to be forgiven, but rather forgiveness is there for our taking through putting our faith in Jesus. No more striving. No more blood. No more corruption in the system. Direct access through The Lamb.
As we sit just a few days away from Christmas, it is amazing to ponder the forgiveness that we as Jesus followers now live under. God With Us who gave His life for us. We can’t look in the manger without gazing towards the cross. And we can’t go to the cross without looking forward to the resurrection. Forgiveness and life – for you and me.
The question is, How do I live out this state of being forgiven today? I’m not going to earn it through the actions I take today. I don’t need to be hesitant in my actions today as if I am going to lose it, either. Rather, it is a true state that I live in today. As the pastor often says during the observance of the Last Supper “The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” He did it. He did it for you and me.
And now today, you and I get to live our lives out of gratitude to Him for this amazing gift. We get to live our lives as an act of worship – giving of ourselves as an act of worship to Jesus, who has forgiven us for everything past, present and future. You and I are forgiven. Today, we get to live like it.