Blood That Sanctifies!
Wednesday of Lent 5 Trinity Lutheran Church
5 April 2017 Murdock, NE
+ Jesu Juva +
Hebrews 13:9-16 / Blood That Sanctifies
Holiness. Sanctification. That’s a huge topic in the Bible. And what’s most remarkable is that God shares and gives His holiness to unholy and impure sinners.
How does God do this? From the altar where the Good Friday sacrificial divine Blood of Jesus is given to you to drink with the wine in the Lord’s Supper every Sunday. Jesus’ Lamb-of-God-Blood not only sets you free from your sin but it actually holies you.
Now, tonight’s text from Hebrews references the Old Testament’s practices associated with the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur that is describes in Leviticus. On the Day of Atonement the carcasses of the animals slaughtered for sacrifice would be DRAINED OF THEIR BLOOD. Then the high priest would carry the blood into the Holy of Holies – God’s throne. However, the bodies of the sacrificed animals would be burned outside the camp of Israel. Tonight’s text draws an analogy with the Good Friday death of Jesus on the cross. It says that Jesus “suffered outside the gate.” That is, Jesus was crucified outside of Jerusalem as we heard in the Passion Reading a few minutes ago. Jesus suffered outside the capital city. He shed His Blood – His Blood was drained from His Body as He died on the cross. His Good-Friday-Drained-From-His-Body-Blood gives you God’s holiness. Sanctification!
The ceremonies of the Day of Atonement in the Old Testament were repeated year after year. They pointed to the day when God Himself would die. When God Himself – Jesus – the Lamb of God – would be sacrificed as the one and only sacrifice that atones for all sinners and every sin. Remarkably, as He dies on the cross Jesus is both the Lamb that dies and the High Priest that offers the bloody atoning sacrifice. With His own divine Blood offered on the cross Jesus enters the heavenly Holy of Holies to make an everlasting atonement for all sin. His Good Friday sacrifice is made once and for all. Once for all time. Once for all people. The work of salvation is done. “It is finished,” Jesus said from the cross. So, there is no need for any of the Old Testament sacrifices. They are fulfilled in Jesus!
Now, let me repeat. This Good Friday Blood of Jesus shed on the cross holies you – sanctifies you. He cleanses you from the impurity and toxicity of your sin. By His Blood you are His holy people. People that belong to Him and who can stand before Him and live. The New Testament Book of Revelation describes you with these words: “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God the Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever,” (1:5).
You are holy. Holied / Sanctified for salvation. The Blood of Jesus says so. So, now what? How are you, God’s holy people, given to live? Tonight’s text makes two points. First, “Therefore let us go forth to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek the one to come.” In other words, we are to go where Jesus is. Where Jesus is FOR YOU. THAT IS IN HIS WORD OF FORGIVENESS preached and given every Sunday in the absolution and the Lord’s Supper. We go to where Jesus distributes the fruit or benefits of His Good Friday death – that’s the divine service – as we await the heavenly Jerusalem that is to come on the Last Day. In the divine service Jesus continually bestows His holiness and maintains it FOR US.
Second, the text says that we are to “continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” As His holy people, holied by the Good Friday atoning sacrifice of Jesus, we praise God for the gift of Jesus, give thanks and help those in need. Those are sacrifices that serve the neighbor with love. In other words, we live for others, not ourselves. This too is God’s good use of us in this life.
Just as Romans 12 teaches. As a fruit of God’s Good Friday mercy given to us in Jesus, we offer our bodies as living sacrifices. In other words, in our daily lives we live not to be served but to serve our neighbor in love. Putting their needs above our own. Sacrificing our time, money and abilities to serve those that need help.
Jesus holies our lips to praise His holy name. In addition, He holies our lives to live for Him in loving service to the needy neighbor. God doesn’t need your works. Your neighbor does. So, in Psalm 50 the Lord declares, “If I were hungry I would not tell you for the world is mine and all that is in it. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?” You see, God doesn’t need our food, the work of our hands, or our money. But your neighbor needs these things.
Living outside of ourselves by faith in Jesus we then will live outside ourselves in love toward the neighbor. Holy people of Jesus live holy lives. That means you do works of love for those that need your help. The blood of Jesus holies – sanctifies you. For salvation. Now, be of good use in this world as His holy people by loving and helping one another and others that need your love. It’s what Jesus expects and you, His holied people, want to do it. What joy!
In the name of Jesus.