… and so when he had accomplished cleansing for sins, [Jesus] sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. (Hebrews 1:3)
Painting the house, remodeling the living room, or even washing and waxing the car–when the job is done, how sweet it is to sit down and savor the results of your hard work. I’ve seen on Facebook that some of you have taken CPA exams or finished high school or college, and I can sense the joy that you’re experiencing in being able to step back, rest for a moment, and celebrate a huge task completed.
Four times in the New Testament Epistle to the Hebrews, it is noted that Jesus Christ “sat down,” and each time, it is in the context of the once-and-for-all completion of a task. While your house is going to need to be painted again, and your car is going to need to be washed again, the task that Jesus has completed on our behalf is never again going to need to be repeated. (Hebrews 10:12) It is finished. Jesus is now “seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” rejoicing in the results of the work He has accomplished for us, once and for all. (Hebrews 12:2)
Not only is Jesus not going to need to repeat His work of salvation on our behalf, but also, those who accept His completed work on their behalf will never have to repeatedly carry out any religious acts or rites in order to receive the blessing of eternal life. (Titus 3:5)
In the various religions of humankind, priests and practitioners alike need to continually offer sacrifices and do works of penance in the hope of appeasing their god(s). In the hope of avoiding condemnation and of receiving blessing, they practice self-denial and try to follow moral codes or acts of religious piety. That’s because in all of the religions of mankind, there is no Deliverer like Jesus Christ who has paid the full penalty of sin–once and for all–on behalf of all who believe.
God is the Author of life, and God is holy. In order for unholy humans to receive the everlasting life that the Author of life offers, we need to be united with God. But our sins and shortcomings separate us from the Holy One. (Isaiah 59:1-2) So in His great love for us, God became a human being. (John 1:14) He became a human High Priest on our behalf. Living a perfectly sinless life Himself, the God-Man, Jesus Christ, took all of our sins and rebellions against God on Himself on the cross on which He died. (1 Peter 3:18) He did not bear the penalty of sin for Himself–He was sinless. (Hebrews 4:15-16) He bore the full penalty of sin as our Substitute. He died, separated from God on our behalf.
But in His divine power, Jesus Christ rose from the dead. He is alive forevermore. As Hebrews 7:23-25 says,
And the others who became priests were numerous, because death prevented them from continuing in office, but He holds his priesthood permanently since He lives forever. So he is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.
According to the best scholarly efforts to know them, the last earthly words of Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) were, “Work hard to gain your own salvation.” According to the Bible, among the last words spoken by Jesus Christ before He gave up His life on the cross were, “It is finished.” (John 19:30) The Gospel of John was originally recorded in Greek, and the Greek word tetelestai, meaning “It is finished,” also carries the meaning, “It is paid in full; it is accomplished.” It wasn’t Jesus’ life that was finished; it is His saving work on our behalf that was completed. He lives always to intercede for those who come to God through Him. (Hebrews 7:25)
Buddha, like the adherents of other world religions, said, “Gain your own salvation.” Jesus Christ gained salvation for all who will believe Him by becoming the sacrifice that paid for all the sins of the world. (1 John 2:2)
Jesus Christ is not the founder of a new religion among the many religions of the world. He is God Himself, who ended the need for religion by dying in our place and rising from the dead to serve as our eternal High Priest.
No other religion’s priests ever sit down, because their job is never done. Jesus Christ has sat down in glory having accomplished once and for all everything necessary for the salvation of any who will believe in Him. (Hebrews 1:1-3; Romans 4:5)