What God Gave at Christmas
“After making purification for sins he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
- Hebrews 1:3
Hebrews makes a big deal about Jesus being our High Priest. Sin dirties us in the sight of God. And if we are to be with the holy, pure God, we cannot waltz into his presence as we are. We must be cleansed. And God’s appointed way for cleansing is through the shedding of blood by the priestly sacrifices.
In the Old Testament, a priest would sprinkle the blood of a spotless lamb on the altar symbolizing that the blood of perfection must be shed for the forgiveness of sins. But the blood of an imperfect animal could never bring about the kind of cleansing we need. Man’s sin requires man’s blood. But if we shed our blood for all our sins, how can we live? We can’t! Our sin is too great. One sin against God is worthy of eternal damnation. How could we ever pay for all the sins we’ve committed?
Well, we can’t. But Jesus can. And at Christmas, Jesus became the only person ever born on a mission to die. He became the only priest to ever walk the road of a sacrificial lamb.
He lived the perfect life on our behalf, obeying God every step of the way. And when he reached the end, he obeyed to the point of death on a cross. He set aside all his rights as God and God made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus did not die because he was sinful. Jesus died because we were sinful. He was spotless. We were stained. He was our sacrifice. We are the forgiven.
By his single offering, Jesus perfected us for all time, making purification for sins by his blood. What Christmas began, the cross ended.
And after the finished work of the cross, Jesus sat down in the presence of God! Old Testament priests never sat down in God’s presence. The work was never finished. More sin always needed forgiving. But in Christ, all the sin of all God’s people was forgiven once for all. And he sat down. There is no question about your salvation if you are his.
And just as important as his sitting is the place of his sitting. When he finished, Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high—the spot of exaltation—to rule the universe.
And what’s more amazing is he isn’t sitting there as a spirit. Even in death, Jesus never gave up his body. Jesus’ resurrection was a bodily resurrection. He rose in the same kind of glorified body he will one day give all believers in the great and final day of the resurrection. That means there is a God-Man ruling the universe, and his name is Jesus, the one who came so long ago to save his people from their sins.
No one will vote him out and no one will overthrow him. He’s secure. And if you’re in Christ, you are as secure as he is. How's that for a Christmas present?