Did you ever stop to think, if you are a believer, that Jesus’ perfectly obedient life was lived for you? That when God views you through Jesus your representative, he sees you as perfectly pleasing to himself? That is the astounding message of Hebrews 10:4-14.
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Above all else, in Hebrews (as in the Old Testament), a high priest is one who acts as a representative of all his people. God sees what the high priest does, and he regards it as done by all the people whom the high priest represents. The holy clothing or vestments of the Mosaic high priest from Aaron forward symbolize this truth. The high priest displayed 12 precious stones on his chest and shoulders, engraved with the names of the tribes of Israel (Ex. 28:9-12, 15-21, 28-29). Where he went, all Israel went — in his person. What he did, his people did — through his representation. When God accepted the high priest’s offerings, he accepted the people whom the high priest represented.
Aaron and his successors also wore a turban with a golden plate on the front, inscribed with the words “Holy to the LORD” (Ex. 28:36-38). Since Aaron and all his descendants were also sinners like us, this was a symbolic or ceremonial holiness pointing to something else. That symbolic holiness was a preview of Jesus Christ, the high priest who was to come. Unlike Aaron and his descendants, Jesus is actually holy in his own life and character. Because Jesus (as high priest) represents all his people, his own holy life counts for all those whom he represents (Heb. 4:15; 7:26-28).
When we take Communion or Eucharist, we consume two elements, not one. These remind us that Jesus offered both his BODY (representing his faithful doing of God’s wishes) and also his BLOOD (representing his perfect dying as the atonement for sin). When we eat the bread, we may thank God that Jesus Christ lived a life of perfect obedience — in our stead and to our account — and that by it God sees us as holy. When we drink the wine, we may thank God that Jesus Christ died the sinners’ death — in our stead and to our account — and that by it God forgives all our sins. By Christ’s sacrifice offered one time, we are made perfect for all time and eternity (Heb. 10:14). Hallelujah! What a Savior!