In his sacrifice, Jesus Christ had the role of the priest and that of the victim. Not only was He disposed to suffer in order to save mankind, but He voluntarily gave up everything He had in the material life with this purpose (Nelson).
Jesus Christ improved the connection between the individual and God, influencing Christians to perfect themselves. Christs sacrifice came as a contrast to the sacrifices performed by Levitical priests, as the latter did not perfect themselves through their actions, nor did they succeed in cleansing their souls from their inner sins (Nelson).
The blood priests shed in order to praise their Lord only managed to comfort themselves in a material way. While Levitical priests believed that their sacrifice absolved them for some time, they were aware that their sins were not forgiven. Animal sacrifices induced material feelings of material forgiveness in people while the sacrifice of Jesus Christ induced the feeling that their consciences were cleansed in Christians.
Through His sacrifice, Jesus Christ demonstrated that there was more to life than material values. He showed how life itself was a material value that one could easily give up with the purpose of helping those he or she loves.
People before and consequent to Christ feared that the Day of Judgment will come and that they will lose their lives at that time. However, Christs sacrifice goes at influencing people to disregard their material possessions, for as long as they are willing to believe they will succeed in becoming one with God. The book of the Hebrews constantly tries to inform individuals in regard to how external benefits are less important than internal ones. The ineffectiveness in Israels sacrifices is obvious through the fact that they had to be repeated over and over again, since they only presented people with a limited feeling of forgiveness.
Because of the sacrifices of the Levitical priests, people were continuously reminded that they will never be entirely forgiven, whereas the sacrifice Christ performed had an intense psychological effect on Christians, emphasizing the fact that their interior feelings of guilt have to be removed because it is in Gods nature to forgive.
1. Long, Thomas G. “Bold in the Presence of God: Atonement in Hebrews,” Interpretation 52.1 (1998)
2. Manson, William The Epistle to the Hebrews (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1966).
3. Nelson, Richard D. “He Offered Himself” Sacrifice in Hebrews,” Interpretation.