“Sacrifice and offering you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for Me.” Hebrews 10:5
What an amazing verse. Paul here says He is quoting Jesus talking about how the Jewish sacrifices were only temporary and not permanently effective; Jesus came to finalize the sacrifice—to do the Father’s will in making one perfect substitution for our sins.
Praise God for Jesus’ final, once-and-for-all sacrifice! Because of it, I walk in freedom before God; my sins forgiven, sin’s stranglehold broken, with the ability to walk in new life. Good news, indeed!
Now, since I’m to follow Jesus, what else can I see here in this verse? What applies to me?
God doesn’t desire my sacrifice and offering. I don’t need to do anything—indeed, I can’t do anything—to cause Him to be pleased with me or to make Him love me more. I can’t even do anything that would make Him love me less, hallelujah!
“But a body you have prepared for Me …”
When I read this verse this morning, it occurred to me that God prepared a body for each one of us—not just Jesus. And while there are obvious differences involved, that fact still merits our attention.
The Gnostics held that man’s greatest problem was the fact that he had a body. The basic tenet of Gnosticism is dualism: the idea that the world is divided into two categories; spirit and material, and everything spirit is good while everything material is bad. “Gnostic” comes from the Greek “gnosis,” meaning knowledge—“knowledge (Gr. Gnosis) falsely so called,” as Paul states in I Timothy 6:20. Gnosticism predates Christianity, and we must realize what a powerful contention Jesus’ claim made to it.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … and the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1,14
Wow, now that’s a problem! The Word, Who was God and therefore Spirit, became flesh. That’s the claim of Christianity, which did not make the Gnostics happy. And of course, there arose sects of “Gnostic Christianity” which said that Jesus only appeared to be human, but could not be if He were truly God. We know this is false teaching, because I John 4:2 says, “every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.” It follows then, that those that don’t make this confession are not from God.
Anyway, there are probably not too many reading who would describe themselves as Gnostic, so I won’t spend any more time on that. But I did feel challenged this morning as I read that verse, “A body you have prepared for me,” to ask myself this question: Am I acting like I believe that my body was prepared for me by God?
I don’t think I am. I mean, I’d never even considered it much before, anyway, though there are other verses that say something similar, such as I Corinthians 6:10, “For you have been bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body,” and Romans 12:1, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Those verses, though, tend to make me think about things like going to church, serving in nurser, getting a medical assistant training, raising my hands in worship, etc. You know, doing holy things.
Not things like toilet scrubbing, laundry folding and nose wiping.
And I do way, way, way more of things like that.
So am I thinking like a Gnostic, unknowingly?
If God prepared this body for me, it means a few things …
First of all, I need to accept it for what it is. 5’4” and no more. Not particularly willowy, especially after eight children. Perpetually non-athletic. Less blonde than I’d like. You can make your own list of things you need to accept—perhaps your own body is having some issues right now that you’re not happy about. Maybe it’s sickly and sleep deprived. Or pregnant and nauseous. Or just plain old and tired. Whatever condition your body is in, it’s the one God gave you. Accept it! Do what you can with it, of course—take care of it; you’re the steward and you’ll give account to God for it! But accept yourself, in whatever condition you’re in right now.
Second, I need to see my body as the instrument He’s given me to do good works through. Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, so that we would walk in them.” We were created for good works. We were created to bring glory to God in everything we do, and if we’re moms we have a special call to our husbands, children and homes. That means we are doing what we’re created for when we do all those not-desirable jobs! I remember very clearly one day when I was working in my children’s bathroom (I have six boys, remember? This is not a job for the faint of heart!) cleaning the bottom of the toilet (double ewww!) and lamenting that I really wished I could be doing something more important, when I suddenly heard the Lord say, “You do this for Me!”
Stunning truth! But He’s said similar things before …
“And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward,” Matthew 10:42.
If a cup of cold water given to a child merits reward, surely scrubbing their toilet counts for something! Again, here …
“Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” Matthew 25:40
Here’s the thing He reminded me of … no one else is going to do those things! No one else is going to train the toddler, plan great meals, or light the candles. I am God’s provision for the heart-life of my family. If I don’t do the job, it’s not getting done.
Amazing! Everything you do. From teaching a little one to read to making smore’s for a special family treat, from grocery shopping to inviting friends over for a game night, from snuggling a crying baby to encouraging your heartbroken teen … it’s all for His sake. And He sees it all.
Today, remember … your body was prepared for you by God. Use it to glorify Him as you do the good works He also prepared for you before the foundation of the world!