22 January 2011

Hebrews 9:2-14

"How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to servce the living God!" (v. 14)


The writer of the letter to the Hebrews has worked hard to encourage the readers that they can be confident of what Jesus Christ has done for them through his birth, death, and resurrection.

The writer notes two points of similarity between the animal sacrifices and Jesus. Both the animal sacrifices and Jesus' sacrificial death are offered to God. This suggests that at the heart of our different understandings in different faiths of how to worship God, there is a universal understanding that God exists, that God is worthy of worship and that God can save us. The second similarity is that Jesus and the animal sacrifices both are described as eing "without blemish" thus we are reminded that we offer to God the best we have. 

The writer also draws four points of contrast between the old system of animal sacrifices and the self sacrificing of Jesus' death on the cross which leads to the redemption of the whole of creation:

  • Jesus Christ's sacrifice is offered through the eternal spirit rather than flesh. That which is offered has its place with God in the heavens and cannot just be about human concerns.
  • Christ offers himself and thus is both priest and sacrifice. His sacrifice is therefore volitional (ie of his own will and intent); he chooses to die for us rather than him being chosen.
  • The old animal sacrifices of the temple worship were about creating physical purity for those who offered them whereas the death of Jesus brings about inner change which results in transformation of the whole person.
  • The death of Jesus brings those who trust in him into the presence of the living God.



To Ponder

What is the best we have? How (if at all) do we offer it to God?

What change in yourself have you known as a result of faith in Christ? Or what change would you like to see?

What do you think it might it be like to encounter the living God?

Bible notes author

Revd Helen Cameron

Helen Cameron is a Methodist presbyter and Chair of the Northampton District. Prior to this she was the Assistant Secretary of the Conference and Director of Methodist Formation at the Queen's Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education in Birmingham.