11Now every priest stands day by day offering these various sacrifices which can never carry sin away. 12Christ, on the other hand, has offered one sacrifice, perfectly good, and sat down at the right hand of God 13The only thing left is a time of waiting until his enemies are made footstool for his feet. 14For by means of one sacrifice he has made the ones who are being made holy completely perfect. — Hebrews 10:11-14
Ben and Sam wee at the bottom of a cliff. Neither thought he would be able to climb to the top without a rope that was secured at the top. Ben offered Sam a rope that he was carrying in his backpack. Sam rejected the rope. Just then another man looked down from the top of the cliff, saw their predicament, and lowered a rope to them. Sam grabbed hold of this rope and started climbing, only to be asked by Ben. â€œWhy do you prefer this rope to the one I offered you? Mine is just as good of quality!â€
â€œBecause this rope comes down from the top of the cliff,â€ he replied.
Now doubtless there is nobody stupid enough to fail to understand the difference between those two ropes, right?
But don’t we do something similar in our spiritual lives? We look for every possible avenue to get to God that we possibly can. We go to spiritual leaders, to friends, to theologians, to other family members. We look for all the rituals and procedures that we can follow.
We look for sacrifices we can make. If I give money and time to the soup kitchen, perhaps I’ll get closer to God. Maybe if I go isolate myself for a few years and think only of God, that will do it. If I tithe, perhaps God will come closer to me. Maybe I need to spend three or more hours daily in prayer.
But you see, there are two reasons this won’t work for you. First, God already did it. God already sent Jesus, already offered the perfect sacrifice, already reconciled himself to you. You aren’t going to find a better sacrifice to offer. Second, no matter how good of a sacrifice you find, it always came from here. Both ends of your rope are here on earth.
That’s the simple truth this text is trying to teach us. No amount of doing, even of doing good things, is going to take care of sins and provide forgiveness.
Now you may object that the sacrifices were commanded by God, and so they must not be something foolish, like the rope at the bottom of the cliff. But consider this: The rope is a perfectly good rope. It has many uses. It is a very positive thing. It only looks foolish when you apply it to the wrong thing.
The sacrifices of Old Testament times were good things. They taught lessons. They helped God’s people in their spiritual walk. But when they were applied to the wrong thing, they became foolish.
Jesus has offered that once and for all sacrifice. He’s lowered the rope to you from the top. No matter what you offer on this end, it won’t be enough. Will you just grab hold of the rope he offers and accept it?