The Sufferings of Christ
The sufferings of Christ not only ended the elaborate but futile Old Covenant sacrifices but actually bring sinners to God.
Today’s reading: Ezekiel 40; 1 Peter 5
39 And in the vestibule of the gate were two tables on either side, on which the burnt offering and the sin offering and the guilt offering were to be slaughtered. Ezekiel 40:39
1So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 1 Peter 5:1
In Ezekiel’s vision of the new temple, he is taken into the inner chamber where there are tables for the washing and slaughter of the various kinds of sacrifices: burnt, guilt, and sin offerings. Such was the enormity of the sin of God’s chosen people that the sacrifices were repeated over and over with no seeming conclusion. Sin and sacrifices were the way of life on a daily basis. Talk about life on an endless treadmill!
Would there be no deliverance from the sin or the futility of the animal sacrifices? Yes, indeed, there would.
Peter was a witness to that deliverance which was accomplished by the sufferings of Christ. The Apostle knew what those sufferings meant. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit…” he wrote (I Peter 3:18). Christ’s sufferings meant that a sufficient offering had finally been made. Christ suffered once for sins. His one offering was sufficient because He was righteous. No other person and no sacrificial animal could accomplish what His sufferings accomplished which was to bring unrighteous people to God.
Peter knew that he was one of those unrighteous people who had been brought to God. [See Luke 5:8]. The rest of his life and ministry was lived and executed in the light of the cross of Christ. When he appealed to the elders among his readers to be faithful and humble shepherds of God’s flock, he did so as one who had never lost sight of the reason for Jesus’ sufferings.
Have you grasped the meaning of the sufferings of Christ? Lay aside every effort to earn forgiveness through any merit of your own, or any feeble offerings to God. They cannot suffice. Only the One who suffered for His people on the cross can bring us to God. Trust in the sufferings of Christ.