Focal Passage: Hebrews 9:11-15
In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was a king punished for his continued deceitfulness. His punishment was to roll a huge boulder up a high hill, only to watch it roll back down. He was confined to continue rolling that boulder up the hill for all eternity.
The book of Hebrews talks a lot about how the New Covenant is superior to the Old. One of those ways is in the finality that the New Covenant brings to the religious rituals required under the Old Covenant.
Like Sisyphus rolling that boulder, the Old Testament priests were continually making sacrifices; first for themselves, then for the people. Day after day, year after year this went on as a perpetual reminder that the blood of bulls and goats could never permanently resolve their sin problem.
The writer of Hebrews tells us that “now the Messiah has appeared” and that changed everything. Rather than requiring the blood of bulls and goats to atone for his own sin, Jesus entered the most holy place by virtue of His own sinless blood. That blood not only allowed Him entrance to the most holy place, but it cleanses completely the consciences of all those trust in Him. The result of that cleansed conscience is service to God.
Instead of spending our energy and time in religious ritual, because of Christ, we are free to serve God with a clear conscience. We experience a conscience that is clear, not because of our goodness, but because it has been cleansed with the spotless, sinless, perfect blood of Jesus. A sacrifice was made for your freedom by Christ as He offered Himself on your behalf.
Christ Himself mediates this New Covenant. By His death, He sets us free from the sins that were identified and committed under the Old Covenant. What a tremendous blessing!
Do you feel the freedom of having your consciences cleansed by Christ? Do you feel the freedom of no longer having to perform religious duties in order to please God?