December 16

Hebrews 10:5-7

“Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, ‘Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me;’” vs. 3

After the destruction of the temple in 70 AD and its elimination as a place of worship and sacrifice, Jewish followers of Jesus scrambled to make sense of what had happened. Bit by bit, as they examined their scriptures, some of them began to understand Jesus’ death as a once for all sacrifice for sin. Here the writer of Hebrews uses verses from the Psalms to make that argument in a way that his Jewish readers could understand. Whatever we might think of his interpretation of those verses, there is no doubt that his conclusions became the centerpiece of the Church’s teachings about the death of Jesus. In a few days billions of people will be gathering to celebrate his birth, not just because it’s a nice story, but because they believe that in him God acted to take away the sins of the world. In fact, even the folks who reject the satisfaction theory of atonement will be joining the crowds and singing “Silent Night.” They just can’t stay away! However we have come to understand Jesus, he is above all the Christ, and in his Body we find grace and purpose. We don’t have to appease God with bribes and offerings–our lives are God’s offering and in our bodies we experience and pass on God’s extravagant love. 

Thought for the Day: What do my sins have to do with Jesus?

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