I looked at my calendar today and noticed it was the Day of Atonement: Yom Kippur. Being a Gentile, not raised to observe the Feasts of the Old Testament, I turned to Leviticus 16 to remind myself of its meaning.
"For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you,
that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord.
It is a sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls.
It is a statute forever."
I was reminded of Hebrews, which says that He (Jesus) is our High Priest, made like His brethren,
merciful and faithful, having suffered, being tempted, able to aid those who are tempted,
who sympathizes with our weaknesses, without sin, having compassion on the ignorant,
and on those who go astray.
And it says that having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.
On the day of atonement, when the uncleanness of the nation was to be addressed, when the sin was to be provided for, the people were told to rest. Not to rest in joy, but in affliction of soul. Sin ought to grieve us. But, still: rest. Because our work is worthless to provide atonement. No good work that I can do can make my uncleanness clean. The work of the Priest is the only work to be done for atonement. The sacrifice. The shedding of blood and the application of it for all.
"There remains therefore a rest for the people of God."
When it comes to atonement, my work is to sit on my hands, afflicted in soul, and hope in God -- and let His High Priest do the work.
"Because He continues forever, He has an unchangeable priesthood.
Therefore He is able to save to the uttermost
those who come to God through Him,
since He always lives to make intercession for them.
For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled,
separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens;
who does not need daily, as those high priests,
to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins, and then for the people's,
for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself."
Able to save to the uttermost.
Always lives to make intercession for them.
This He did once for all.
As one of my teachers used to yell: "THESE ARE SHOUTIN' GROUNDS!" I like to maintain my dignity for the most part, but this passage reduces me to wonder and humility every time I read it. And I want to shout.
"Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood
He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption."
Eternal redemption. He paid it forever! My day of rest does not end. My sabbath in Christ is eternal. He sat down at the right hand of God. Because His work of atonement is DONE!! I am atoned for. My sins are paid for. I'm clean.