By Debbie Hansen —
The RBC Women’s Ministry Bible Study began the year with Nancy Guthrie’s insightful book, The Lamb of God, Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament. The focus was on the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The study traced God’s promise of a coming seed to redeem and restore His creation which had been ruined by man’s sinful pride and disobedience. We marveled at the many ways Moses wrote about Christ and how all of the Old Covenant practices foreshadowed or pointed to a coming Messiah. Jesus even explained to the two on the road to Emmaus how the Old Testament pointed to Himself: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).
The second half of the year we continued in the grand story line of the Bible by looking at the fulfillment of the shadows through a study in the book of Hebrews by Matthew Capps. This reflection on the other side of the cross highlighted the superiority of the Messiah and the new covenant which He inaugurated. We saw Jesus as superior to angels and Moses and seated at the right hand of God the Father. We gave thanks for the greater High Priest and King after the order of Melchizedek who sympathizes with us and continues to intercede for us. We were humbled by the greater sacrifice for rebellious ones like us. Jesus was the perfect Lamb whose death was a once and for all sacrifice. His blood was superior to the blood of bulls and goats that were offered repeatedly under the Old Covenant but could never take away sin. Multitudes saw and heard the message of the Messiah. Many recognized Jesus as the longed-for Messiah but for others, their knowledge of this Jesus and new way to approach God was not mixed with faith. They would not leave the elementary teachings of the Old Covenant and look to Jesus to save them.
So it is today. Many have heard and perhaps even “tasted” a bit of the good news of Jesus. Some have grown up in the church and have heard the stories, have sung the songs, and have even observed lives changed. But their knowledge of these witnesses and the witnesses of Hebrews 11 is not mixed with faith in their own heart for one reason or another. Many do not understand why they need saving and prefer to trust in their own good works. Still others need to hear the good news of the gospel.
The exhortations and warnings in this great book stood out to us, challenged and sobered us as we looked at questions such as, “Why do we need a greater High Priest or a better sacrifice?” “Is my heart indifferent or hardened by sin?” “Do I know much about God, but have neglected salvation?” “What do we need saving from?”
While it is true that we need to be saved from our sins and even saved from eternity in hell, the reason behind these truths is there is a coming judgment from a God of wrath. The holy and righteous God is also a wrathful God as He cannot bear sin. He is full of righteous wrath for sin. But He is also full of love for weak and needy creatures like you and me who are helpless to save ourselves. He loved us so much that He gave His only Son to be our sacrificial lamb and poured out all His wrath on His Son! It was this perfect holy Lamb who absorbed all of the Father’s wrath for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserved. His once and for all sacrifice means that there is no more wrath for those who put their faith and trust in the perfect Lamb of God. We are welcomed all the way into the very presence of God because of the righteousness of Jesus, our greater Prophet, Priest, King, and Sacrifice! Rejoice with us!
He bore the wrath reserved for me,
now all I know is grace! Hallelujah!