Dear church,

Every stupid mistake you ever have made has been paid for by the death of Jesus Christ. Even the mistakes you have made by accident, not intending to do them – those, too, have been paid for by Jesus on the cross.

When news began to spread from Jerusalem that the high priest had died, it would have caught people’s attention. “The old man has finally passed away.” And some would have heard the news with secret joy. Some in the countryside may have skipped home to tell their relatives – “The high priest has died!” A family reunion was coming. 

In the cities of refuge, some lived in exile. There was nothing they could do. They had inadvertently shed human blood – taken human life. God made humanity as a sacred thing. We live as His image on earth. Only human blood can atone for the taking of human life. And the high priest, for the manslaughterer, provided atonement. The high priest carried those mistakes on his shoulders.

“Now the point of what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest …” (Hebrews 8:1). In those cities of refuge – God-ordained places of temporary sanctuary – the news of the high priest’s death would have been received with sweet relief. Freedom, finally, had come. At last, it was time to go home.

“But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head” (Psalm 3:3). The only hope we have is in the blood of Christ. He is the only one who can pay for our sins without sending us to the final executioner. And he is the only one who can grant us relief from the guilt that ravages our consciences. 

He paid it all. When Satan assails us with our sins – or when we assail ourselves, ruthlessly trying to convince ourselves that we have no hope – we respond with the truth. “I will not be afraid. … Salvation belongs to the Lord” (Psalm 3:6, 8).


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