5 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; 6 with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. 7 Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do your will, my God…’” 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:5-7, 10)
5 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; 6 with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. It jumps out at you a little bit when you read that God did not desire sacrifice and offering and that God was not pleased with burnt and sin offerings. We all know that there were a lot of sacrifices in Israel. God required sacrifices, but these offerings were never to be an end in themselves. The multitude of sacrifices was to be a regular proclamation of the people’s sin and the grace of God.
Each time the priests killed a lamb or goat or bull or ram, the message was proclaimed vividly: “The wages of sin is death” (Ro 6:23). At the same time, God’s grace was also revealed by the fact that sinful people were spared by the death of a substitute. And above all, those many animal sacrifices were designed to point ahead to the perfect substitute whom God would send into the world, who would bear the sins of the world and give himself as an offering to God to atone for all sins.
It was only in connection with the coming Savior that the many Old Testament offerings had any value. The writer says in the verse preceding our text, “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Heb 10:4). And earlier, our writer asked a good question: If those sacrifices could have actually taken away sins, wouldn’t they have stopped being offered? (see Heb 10:2). God throughout his word reminds us that our works (church attendance, offerings, works of service, or helping others) don’t have any value in gaining our salvation.
It was for this very reason—because our sacrifices were not pleasing to God—that he provided his own lamb for sacrifice. Listen as Jesus says, “A body you prepared for me.” God the Father prepared a body for his Son so that his Son might have blood to shed for us on a shameful cross, blood that can do what the blood of beasts and good works and gold and silver never could do, blood that can purify us and every sinner from every sin because it is the holy precious blood of God’s one and only Son. God gave his Son a body so that, by his blood, he could wash away our sins. He says, “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me”—a body that our Great High Priest would offer as the one great sacrifice for sin.
He had come to do his Father’s will and nothing would stop him from completing that work. He went from the manger to the cross, and there he cried out, “It is finished” (Jn 19:30). Jesus our Great High Priest was an acceptable sacrifice—a lamb without a single blemish or defect of sin—as St. Peter says (1 Pet 1:18,19), and he was an acceptable sacrifice.
Jesus our Great High Priest offered himself for the sins of the world, and his sacrifice was accepted by God! He sat down at the right hand of God—no further price is demanded, no more sacrifice required. Forgiveness is purchased and salvation is free. Believe. Rejoice. Live at peace here through Jesus until you live with him in his perfect peace forever.
Happy that Jesus sacrificed himself to save me! Just like you!