Then he [Jesus] said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Whose will? The Father’s. Whose idea to set aside the first system (temple sacrifice with laws)? The Father’s. Who is acting here? The Father and the Son; God through Jesus the Christ. How long is the sacrifice effectual? One year? Until we sin again? Once FOR ALL.
Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. The futility of doing the same thing expecting different results. Or the monotony of practicing the same routine over and over but not experiencing growth or movement. BUT GOD. I love a “but God” moment in Scripture! But when THIS high priest had offered for all time one sacrifice, he sat down. Meaning he was done. [My kids know when I sit down, I’m done. They better get what they’re gonna get while I’m getting] And now he waits patiently. He trusts the Father to complete the work, to bring to full fruition the Kingdom which Jesus has initiated. And notice what it says about us: he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy: perfection is attained; it’s a process. [kind of like the tiny embryo growing inside a mother’s womb has already determined eye color and foot size but it will take months for the eye color to emerge and years for the foot to reach full size—attained and in progress…that’s our holiness].
This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds. Then he adds, their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more. And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. Where has it been? On a tablet in a box in the middle of the temple. And they can’t remember the law from there. Now its on their heart and in their mind and the Lord can’t remember their sin. Do you remind the Lord of your sin? But don’t cheapen the gift. Repent. Know the cost of your sin. But know that it is not a chain unless you choose for it be. It’s not your price to pay…not any more.
Therefore, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, (where are we headed? Through the body of Christ to its center which is the heart…the heart of God…we have access to the heart of God)
and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near to god with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleans us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us draw near. What keeps us away? Why, if God would go to such lengths to draw you in, to make a way to show you how to be in fellowship with God, why would you not? Fear, control, pride? Draw near with a sincere heart (that’s repentance) and full assurance of faith (that’s confession) and have your heart sprinkled and your body washed (that’s sacrament of baptism)
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. We need each other.
The deepest debates and most tragic divisions in the history of the Church have revolved around the divergent understandings of these four words, “This is my body.” Is it transubstantiation, as the Roman Catholics believe? Is it consubstantiation, as the Lutheran’s believe? Is it the “Real (yet mysterious) Presence” of Christ as the Anglicans and Methodists believe? Or is it purely symbolic as the Baptists believe? These debates will persist until Jesus celebrates this meal with us again, as he said, “in my Father’s Kingdom.”
I would like to propose a more primitive and even primal meaning behind the sacrament on which I think we can all agree. When Jesus says, “Take and eat; this is my body” and when he says, “This is my blood of the covenant,” he is saying both literally and symbolically, in word and deed the following three words:
Me for you.
Me for you—as in—my death is the final, imputed atonement of your sin.
Me for you—as in—my resurrection is the eternally imparted source of your life.
Me for you. It’s the message of the Gospel. Me for you. It’s meaning of our justification. Me for you. It’s the means of our sanctification. Me for you. It is the core essence of holy love. Me for you. It is the very meaning of life.
The great act of thanksgiving (which is what the word “Eucharist” means) happens as we, in our deepest heart, say back to Jesus, “me for You.”
Finally, the most true and complete fulfillment his command to “do this in remembrance of me” happens as we turn to our neighbor and say with our lives, “me for you.”