Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me;

Have you ever had to take more than one approach in order to find success at a certain task? The saying goes, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Sometimes, our trying again might involve starting over entirely and following a new set of directions altogether. On a human level, we understand that trying again is a response to unwanted failure. Spiritually speaking, though, failure was part of the eventual victory, right from the start.

It wasn’t that God’s first plan failed and He had to start over again and try something new. Rather, His step one intended to show itself faulty so that we would recognize our need for step two. The law was step one. Jesus, the Messiah, is a vastly superior step two. Not sacrifices and offerings, because God didn’t want that anyway. Instead, a Person devoted to fulfilling God’s will. That was the message the writer of Hebrews wanted to remind readers. The old covenant was only the first step and had been such all along. God was not really seeking any type of animal sacrifice. The slaughter of animals didn’t eradicate sin.

There was a clear need for a better sacrifice, and the effects of Jesus’ sacrifice were beyond what had been experienced previously. Instead of the continual blood sacrifice of animals, in Jesus we receive a perfect sacrifice. Nothing else is needed! This prompts a new way we should respond. The better our understanding of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, the more joy and gratitude we will feel toward Him.

• If God did not delight in burnt offerings or sacrifices, then why did He require them? What was God really looking for in the sacrifices of the old covenant?

• How did Jesus live out in His earthly life the truth that God does not desire sacrifices and offerings?

• Thank God that Jesus is better than anything you could ever offer Him on your very best day. Thank Him for delighting in you because of Jesus’ sacrifice on your behalf. Ask Him for opportunities to share this joy with others in the days ahead.