The Body of Christ- Hebrews 10:1-10

In the sacrament of communion, we partake of two elements, bread and wine (or grape juice in some circles). The wine represents Jesus’ blood shed to atone for our sin. The bread represents Jesus’ body, but what does this element represent, why do we partake of the bread along with the wine? We will turn to the tenth chapter of Hebrews to enhance our understanding of why we partake of the bread as well as the wine. The author begins (verse 1) by mentioning the “law” being a “shadow” that could never “make perfect those who draw near to worship”. The law referred to here is the ceremonial law, the Old Testament sacrifices, which were a foreshadowing of Jesus’ once for all sacrifice. These sacrifices could not make “perfect” those who offered them. The Greek word perfect here is telos, and it has to do primarily with purpose. To be perfect here does not mean to be flawless, but means to be fulfilling one’s purpose, to do what we are created to do, and every human being is created to be the image of God. Those under the Old Covenant were not able to do so, since the Holy Spirit did not indwell them and they did not receive a “new heart and a new spirit” (Ezekiel 36:26) as do New Covenant believers. The Old Testament sacrifices cleansed only outwardly and temporarily, while the sacrifice of Jesus cleanses inwardly and permanently (verse 2), and believers now don’t obey God to stay out of trouble but out of a heart that has been transformed and now longs to please God by obeying Him. The Old Testament sacrifices merely covered over sins, and did not “take away sins” (verse 4), for it was “impossible” for them to do so, only the New Testament sacrifice of Christ would be able to take away sins. The writer then goes on to explain to us the significance of the sacrifice of the body of Jesus, and he does so by quoting Psalm 40:6-8, a messianic Psalm which is applied to Jesus the messiah. He begins by saying that “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me” (verse 5). The phrase translated as “a body you have prepared for me” is literally rendered in the Masoretic text of the Old Testament as “you have dug out my ears”. This unusual expression is a Hebrew idiom used to describe one who listens very carefully to another and obeys everything he hears. This phrase is then completed, in verse 7, with the parallel thought that “with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased”. What the writer of Hebrews wants us to understand in this quote is that God is much more pleased with the offering of ourselves to obey Him beforehand than in any kind of “offering” to make up for our disobedience after the fact. Jesus offered His body to the Father as a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:2), offered Himself up to obey the Father in all things, and God desires this to be the same for each of us, that our bodies would also be offered up as living sacrifices as well. The writer then continues in his quote of Psalm 40 in verse 7, telling us that there were many different types of “offerings” in the Old Testament law, while just one in the New Testament era, and the many offerings under the Old Covenant were all a foreshadow of the one offering of the New Covenant, as well as a foreshadowing of our offering our entire selves to God. God desires obedience to Him beforehand far more than He desires sacrifice offered to Him after we have disobeyed (verse 8-9). God desires a living sacrifice rather than a dead one, the sacrifice not of a forced animal but of a willing person. Jesus’ body was offered to the Father 24/7, all of Him was offered up to the Father to do the Father’s will, and it is through the offering of His body that we who are “in Him” now have the desire and ability to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to our Father as well. The participation in the “body” of Christ which we partake of through the bread in communion thus serves as our own personal “re-enactment” of what Jesus did, as our own symbolic offering of our bodies as “living sacrifices, holy and acceptable” (Romans 12:2). Because Jesus offered up His body, we are able to do so as well, and our partaking of the bread in communion serves as a pledge of our desire to be living sacrifices as well, to “dig out our ears” so we may hear all God has to say to us, and obey everything we hear.

No Comments Conformed to the Image of Christ  //  Epistles  //  Growing In Grace  //  Transformation

Leave a Reply

Pure Spiritual Milk

SEO Copy... Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse nunc turpis, cursus et interdum sed, lobortis vitae nunc. Integer placerat tellus odio, non sodales arcu fermentum id. Mauris vitae eleifend leo, et rhoncus odio. Ut et arcu eu ex tempus ultricies eu vel lorem. Curabitur eu consectetur neque. Suspendisse volutpat nibh urna, sit amet aliquet augue imperdiet in. Etiam eget felis pellentesque, dapibus dolor ut, sodales justo. Mauris eu arcu lectus. Suspendisse odio ex, dignissim sit amet ornare eget, elementum at odio.