Christ holds two main positions in the sanctuary: He’s the Sacrifice and the Priest. His first role encompasses being the Lamb of God, suffering the penalty of death for fallen man. We will study this aspect of the sacrificial system this week. And next week, we’ll explore his role as High Priest.
Memory Text: “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” I Peter 2:24 NASB
Notice the purpose of Jesus’ death. It was in order that we might die to sin (sin no longer has a place in our life) and live to righteousness (by replacing sin with right-doing).
This accomplishment is sandwiched in between two other statements about Jesus:
- “He Himself bore our sins…”
- “…for by His wounds you were healed”
This tells us how the purpose is accomplished. It is the work of Jesus as our Sacrifice on the cross. He “covers” us, just like a sandwich is covered with two pieces of bread. Jesus, the Bread of Life, is the only means for us to lead a sinless life.
Sunday: Jesus in Isaiah 53
This is such a good chapter dealing with Christ’s humility and sacrifice. As a matter of fact, we’ve been admonished to memorize it as a guard against pride. It indeed “puts us in our place” when we think we have something to brag about.
Jesus quoted from the last verse in Isaiah 53 when He told His disciples, “For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.” Luke 22:37 KJV
Other evidence of this passage in Isaiah referring to Jesus can be found in Acts 8:32-35. Here Philip explains a verse from Isaiah, as he witnessed to the Ethiopian eunuch in his chariot one day.
“The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth…Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.” KJV
I Peter 2:21 says, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:” And he goes on to quote in verses 22-25 other references to Jesus found in Isaiah 53.
The Songs of the Servant of the Lord…or…The Songs of the Suffering Servant
The teacher’s helps brought out five passages in the second part of book of Isaiah that offer us the best description of the role of our Savior, with Isaiah 53 being the pivotal masterpiece chapter.
- First Song: Isaiah 42:1-9 presents the Servant’s mission of bringing justice to the world and being a light of the Gentiles–He is gentle and humble, unlike most conquerors of the time.
- Second Song: Isaiah 49:1-7 reveals the Servant’s commission, which is to bring the remnant back to God. This Servant not only tells about salvation, He IS their salvation!
- Third Song: Isaiah 50:4-9 This response of the Servant is called the “Servant’s Gethsemane”, because He talks about His own suffering and trust in the Lord. We first get a glimpse of His physical suffering in v. 6, which says, “I gave my back to be smitten, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.” KJV
- Fourth Song: Isaiah 52: 13-53:12 The last three verses in chapter 52 present the paradox of this Servant suffering rejection, but at last exaltation.
Then here is a breakdown of chapter 53, the one it would be good to memorize–[hint, hint] (each stanza of the “poem” has three verses):
- The Servant as seen by man–v. 1-3
- The Servant as seen by God–v. 4-6
- His death as seen by man–v. 7-9
- His death as seen by God–v. 10-12
- Fifth Song: Isaiah 61:1-3 declares that the Servant is anointed by God and made able by the Spirit to accomplish our total salvation. According to Luke 4:16-22, Jesus Himself quoted v. 1-2 when He stood up to read in the synagogue in Nazareth. His listeners thought it blasphemous and almost pushed him off a cliff.
Discussion Questions: What prevents you from memorizing Scripture? What tips can you give for your fellow classmates? Why would Isaiah 53 be a good chapter to guard our minds against pride?
Monday: Sufficient Substitution
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” Hebrews 2:9-10 KJV
Discussion Questions: When and why was Jesus made “lower than the angels”? What does it mean that Jesus “taste[d] death for every man”? What death? Aren’t we all still going to die?
Tuesday: Christ’s Blood
The concept of redemptive blood is rather difficult to grasp, even though we see it consistently through the whole Bible. As we discovered last week, the blood could cleanse, but it could also defile. Read Hebrews chapters 9-13 for more information about the role of blood and offerings in the sanctuary, both the earthly and the heavenly.
Discussion Question: Review how the transfer of sin in the sanctuary service helps explain this dual role of blood. When does it cleanse and when does it defile?
Wednesday: Spotless Sacrifice
Exodus 12:5 and Leviticus 3:1 and 4:3 inform us about the kind of animals that were called to be sacrificed. We find that they could at times be male or female–sheep, goat, or bullock. But the one criteria they all must have was that they had to be perfect and without blemish, the best they had.
Thought Question: Have you always given God your best?
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15 KJV
Discussion Questions: How does the above verse in Hebrews identify Jesus as the Lamb of God?
Is there a difference in being tempted and sinning?
How did Jesus alone pass the test of not sinning, and does this mean that we too can ever reach a place where we are not sinning?
Why was being perfect and without sin a requirement for Jesus to die as our Substitute? [Example to help explain: If you are on death row, why couldn’t a fellow prisoner become your substitute and die instead of you? Answer: Because he was already going to have to die for his own crimes under the law, so he couldn’t die for yours as well.]
Thursday: A Great Danger
The writer of Hebrews, traditionally thought to be Paul, warns us of the danger of drifting away from God. In Hebrews 6:4-6 he says,
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” KJV
And also Hebrews 10:26-27:
“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” KJV
Although Paul isn’t wanting to strike fear into believers, he feels duty bound to warn them of the dangers of taking their eyes off Jesus, their only means of securing salvation. It’s like when a ship gets just a little off course, resulting in not getting to its destination. We are also reminded of Esau. He took his birthright for granted gradually, until he was willing to sell it for a bowl of beans.
Discussion Question : From the lesson–“Christ’s sacrifice should never become so familiar that we regard it as commonplace.”
And on Friday’s lesson–“Ellen G. White said it would be good to spend a thoughtful hour every day focusing on the life of Jesus, especially the closing scenes.”
How can we spend our daily worship hour profitably, without being in danger of making it too familiar?
Next week: Christ, Our Priest