Jesus the Terminator
I'm a bit of a hoarder. Some of the things I keep are ticket stubs. Torn tickets from all the games and plays I've attended over the years. These are great reminders of events throughout my life. Many of these tickets originally cost a lot of money. Are they worth anything today? Nope. Not a dime. Not after they've been torn at the turnstile. In this verse, Paul looks back on the Jewish ceremonial laws of the Old Testament like a ticket stub. Jesus tore our sacrificial ticket "by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that He might create in Himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace" (v15). Thanks to what He's done for us, we can look back at the complicated list of sacrificial laws in the OT like a ticket stub. A very expensive ticket. But one that is no longer needed.
Paul tells his readers how Jesus brought Jews and non-Jews together by "abolishing the law of commandments" (v15). No place was a better example than Ephesus. When the apostle first hit the city, he set up shop in the local synagogue telling Jews that Messiah has come (Acts 19:8). Some came to believe that Jesus was indeed God's long promised Savior. But other Jewish leaders rejected Paul and his message and gave him the boot (Acts 19:9). So he moved over to a place called Tyrannus Hall and started teaching everyday for another two years (Acts 19:9-10). As a result, both Ephesian Jews and Gentiles placed their trust in the radical and risen Rabbi from Galilee (Acts 19:10). As He had started doing everywhere He sent Paul, Jesus brought Jews and non-Jews together in a crazy new way.
Christ did this by "abolishing the law of commandments" (v15). The apostle uses the Greek verb katargeo, which means to terminate, nullify, cancel, render ineffective, cause to cease or put an end to something. Writers of the New Testament use it 27 times. All but two of those are by the man from Tarsus. When he grew up, Paul put an end to (Gr. katargeo) acting childish (1Cor 13:11). Jesus "abolished (Gr. katargeo) death" once and for all through His gracioius Good News (2Tim 1:10).
Jesus is the Terminator.
According to Paul, Jesus has dropped a nuke on the OT ceremonial laws of sacrifice and separation by giving Himself as the Ultimate Sacrifice. There's a huge difference between what really smart dudes call Moral Law and Ceremonial Law in the Bible. The Moral Law is talking about the code of conduct God has passed down for us to follow. The Ten Commandments are a perfect example of Moral Law. Ceremonial Law describes the process of sacrifices, offerings and rituals that were required when we violated God's perfect standard. Are you tracking? When it comes to the sacrifices of the OT, Jesus has torn the ticket. He's torn YOUR ticket! He's put an end to all of it. It's over.
Jesus is the Terminator.
So what was God up to through this complicated and bloody system of rituals and offerings anyway? First, it was the only way to even temporarily deal with sin. There is no forgiveness without spilled blood (Heb 9:22). Gross, yes. But effective in the short run. Second, these gory and costly sacrifices provided a picture of the One who was to come and provide the perfect and final sacrifice. All of these were simply "a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ" (Col 2:16-17). All of the holidays, all of the feasts, all of the dietary laws gave people a picture of the One who was to come. Third, these sacrificial ceremonies, laws and festivals provided a clear distinction between the Jews and the rest of the people of the world. As God's chosen people, they were holy, distinct and separate from the rest of mankind. It was Yahweh's method of setting them apart to Himself (Lev 20:26). By dying on a cross as the sinless, spotless Lamb of God, Jesus tore our tickets. He paid for Jews. He paid for non-Jews.
The very cool thing is that Jesus handled BOTH the Moral and Ceremonial Law for us. During His most memorable sermon, He told the big crowd, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish them, but to fulfill them" (Mt 5:17). Here He's talking about the Moral Law. Christ didn't simply take a big eraser to all the commands about behavior in the OT. Not in the least. But what He did was even more amazing. He obeyed them. He obeyed them ALL. He obeyed them PERFECTLY. He obeyed them SPOTLESSLY. Don't ever underestimate the fact that He lived the perfect life that we failed to live. Because of that, Jesus is qualified to die the brutal death for sin that we should have died. He didn't come to erase the law. He came to highlight it. The law lets me know I can't do it. It doesn't save me. It only diagnoses my disease. And the only cure is Jesus and His perfect obedience and sacrifice. He perfectly obeyed the Moral Law. And because of His flawless obedience and sinless sacrifice, He's closed the book on the Ceremonial Law. He's put a stop to the Jewish sacrificial system. That's the entire point the writer of Hebrews is trying to through our thick skulls. Because of Jesus, get out of the temple!
Jesus is the Terminator.
Christ abolished all of these ceremonial laws so that "he might create in Himself one new man in place of two, so making peace" (v15). Quite simply, Jesus knocked down the walls that separated Jews and Gentiles. He took a wrecking ball and obliterated them. There's absolutely nothing that's keeping us apart any longer. Circumcision doesn't do it (Col 3:11). Race or nationality doesn't do it (Gal 3:28). Job or social status doesn't do it. Thanks to Jesus the Terminator, all of that stuff has come to an end. He's made us one. We're finally at peace.
Thanks to Jesus the Terminator.
Created 11 months ago