Psalm 51:1–12; Exodus 30:1–10; Hebrews 4:14–5:4
Even if every single Israelite behaved completely within the bounds of Law, and thus no sin offerings were offered for an entire year…still Aaron would have to perform the ritual of reconciliation. No matter how perfect every Israelite was, reconciliation was still needed.
In the Church of the Nazarene (and similarly in other holiness denominations such as the Free Methodist, Wesleyan, Methodist, Church of God in Christ (Anderson), and others) we have a concept of Entire Sanctification. This is not as universal in understanding as it could be, yet it is (ultimately) being like Jesus Christ insofar as we have been enabled by the Holy Spirit (and, yes, this is far more complicated and much simpler). This is a high standard. Others have defined it as giving oneself wholly over to Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit (different ways of explaining it).
By the Law, even if every single human being were Entirely Sanctified, the purification offering for reconciliation would still be required. To many, Entire Sanctification is entirely impossible (and it is without the Holy Spirit). Yet, even were it possible to the many, the offering was still needed.
That is the weight of the Law. It isn’t all the offerings needed to cover our sin. It isn’t all the festivals to celebrate and recognize God’s miracles and saving works. The weight is the Truth that we can do nothing to save ourselves.
As the author of Hebrews is unknown (plenty of speculation), we don’t really have an idea of their perspective or history. Yet, it seems that he (assumption) was a Jew. It wouldn’t surprise me, based upon sections like this, that he was from some sort of priestly background. As such, the Law and the symbols of the Temple would be significant to him.
To the author of Hebrews, Jesus was the ultimate High Priest. Due to Jesus’ eternal nature, Jesus was always acting as the reconciling sacrifice. Though only a sacrifice once, that sacrifice resounds throughout Creation.
Like the earthly High Priest, Jesus was tempted and therefore understands our frailties. Unlike the High Priest, Jesus did not yield to the temptations, and thus does not need to offer sacrifices. Through Christ, then, the weight of the Law is removed, for the reconciliation is done and remains done for eternity.
- Most of us (as non-Jews) do not understand the weight of the Law. With your understanding, what “weight” would you come up with to explain this to another?
- What is one thing you do every year that weighs you down or overwhelms you? How might that be similar to the “weight” of the Law and how might it be different?
Lord, we are unable to fully grasp the chasm between your holiness and our fallenness. Thank you for crossing the chasm for us and aiding us in being reconciled to you. May our hearts and lives reflect it. Amen.