Hebrews 9:24-28 (NRSV)
Read Hebrews 9:24-28 on biblegateway.com
Verse 24For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one, but he entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Verse 25Nor was it to offer himself again and again, as the high priest enters the Holy Place year after year with blood that is not his own; Verse 26for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to remove sin by the sacrifice of himself. Verse 27And just as it is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the judgment, Verse 28so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
The words of today’s reading are a longer version of what is written in John 3:16 and 17. They are a summary of our faith and the reason we have hope. No more sacrifices need to be made. Jesus sacrificed himself once and that was enough. Sin no longer has power over us. Our salvation has been assured for us and so we are asked to live as people who know this. We know that we cannot save ourselves, but Jesus died and rose from the dead because he was the only one who could save us. We give thanks for what Jesus has done for us, the sacrifice he made for our sins. And we are forever grateful for the great love that caused him to give this gift to us. We will die a human death, but we have the promise of waking up in heaven.
Forgive us, Lord, when we act like we have acquired our blessings ourselves. Forgive us when we forget that both our human lives and our eternal lives are gifts you have given to us. Amen.