noted physician was once asked what he considered to the
greatest discovery he had ever made. Without a
moment's hesitation, he replied: 'My greatest discovery is
that I have a Savior.' Surely, no other discovery
could compare to that. After groaning under the burden
of sin, to find that one has a Savior who can lift that
burden is a cause for great rejoicing. The word
'savior' had been known before Christ came, but Jesus gave
it a new significance. In fact, the name “Jesus” is
the historic name “Joshua”. The first Joshua was
Israel's captain when they first settled in Canaan; the
second Joshua was their priest after they came back from
Babylon. Both were associated with great deliverances:
salvation from Egypt and salvation from Babylon. … In the
early stage of Israel's history, the idea of salvation was
very short-term. In the ancient world, those leaders
who brought political freedom were called saviors. The words
'save' and 'savior' are found in the writings and on the
public inscriptions of the Greeks. Various rulers of
world history have been called 'saviors.' Even the
Roman emperor, Augustus, was given the title of savior” (Kelcy).
Now let's notice our reading again found in Hebrews 9:24-28:
“Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in
the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly
things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands,
which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to
appear in the presence of God for us, not that He should
offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy
Place every year with blood of another―He then would have
had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but
now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put
away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is
appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.
To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second
time, apart from sin, for salvation.” The introduction
mentioned that many leaders in Israel and other ancient
cultures were called saviors, “but there is a sense in which
Jesus alone is Savior. He is the only one who can save
from sin and sin's penalties. He is THE Savior.
His preeminence as Savior is seen in His three appearances
which are mentioned in our text. These three
appearances deal with His past work, His present work, and
His future work as the Savior of mankind” (Kelcy).
Notice that Jesus' first appearance is mentioned in verse
26: “He then would have had to suffer often since the
foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the
ages, HE HAS APPEARED to put away sin by the sacrifice of
Himself.” “He has appeared in the past. The work
of all the other saviors in history combined would not begin
to compare with what Jesus has done for mankind! Jesus
appeared on this earth to become our Savior. This
suggests that He has not always been the Savior. In the
beginning at creation, man did not stand in need of a
Savior. When God created the world for His glory and
honor, He created man and gave him a sublime task. But
man betrayed that trust and turned against His Creator in
whose image he was made. And even though he was made
for fellowship with God, it became necessary for God to
expel sinful man from His holy presence” (Ibid).
“If the purpose of God for close fellowship with man was to
become a reality again, man would have be reconciled back to
God. The friendship and closeness of the garden needed
to be restored. It was God's fore-ordained plan and
purpose that Jesus would be the means of that
reconciliation. “Having predestined us to adoption as
sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good
pleasure of His will” (Ephesians 1:5). “According to
the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus
our Lord” (Ephesians 3:11). The coming of Christ to
earth and to become our Savior was planned in the secret
counsel of the Almighty, and then thousands of years of
human history were employed in preparing for that great
“A question that raises itself just here is this: If it was
the purpose of God for Jesus to come to earth and be the
Savior of men, why did Jesus not come to the earth in the
beginning? Why did He not come to the earth when man
first sinned? Several reasons could be suggested.
God wanted man to realize his need for a Savior. He
wanted man to learn by experience that he could not save
himself and that he could not be saved by science, by
education, by social reformers, by political leaders, by
statesmen, or by his own ingenuity. Then too, it was
necessary for the world to be prepared for the coming of
Christ. It was not ready for the sunlight of His
revelation. It would have to become accustomed to the
light gradually. So, God gave to man a very physical
type of religion and added to this revelation as the
centuries went by. It was a religion that was both
temporal and typical. It taught in pictures and
symbols that which was to exist in reality. It
instilled into the mind of man the ideas of sacrifice,
altar, atonement [a sacrifice for reconciliation], and
priesthood. Salvation as we know it was not
comprehended by men in those dim ages. [In fact, the
apostle Peter states: “Of this salvation the prophets have
inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace
that would come to you, searching what, or in what manner of
time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating.
He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the
glories that would follow” (1 Peter 1:10-11). The
prophets did not understand clearly exactly how our
salvation would come about.] It was a mystery.
That is one of the apostle Paul's favorite words for
Christianity ... 'mystery'. It indicates something
that man cannot know until it has been revealed” (Kelcy).
“Finally, after thousands of years had passed, and thousands
and thousands of lambs had been slain and offered, John, the
son of Zacharias, introduced his cousin Jesus as 'the Lamb
of God who takes away the sin of the world' (John 1:29)!
The sacrificed animals of Judaism, the priesthood, the laws
and ordinances had all been leading up to Jesus.
'Therefore the law was our tutor [or schoolmaster] to bring
us to Christ' (Galatians 3:24). [Here was the means of
reconciliation. “For it pleased the Father that in Him all
the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all
things to Himself, whether things on the earth or things in
heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
And you, who were once alienated and enemies in your mind by
wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His
flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless and
above reproach in His sight―if indeed you continue in the
faith, grounded and steadfast” (Colossians 1:21-22).] Jesus
appeared 'in the fullness of time' (Galatians 4:4). It
was the appropriate time toward which the prophecies of the
Old Testament … had long been pointing” (Ibid). [The
stage is set for reconciliation and the restoration of that
lost closeness]: “For if when we were enemies we were
reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more,
having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life”
“It was necessary that Christ come to earth to be identified
with man.’Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of
flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same'
(Hebrews 2:14). The greatest fact of the Old Testament
is that man was made in the image of God; the greatest fact
of the New Testament is that God was made in the likeness of
man! Christ became a co-partner with man in
temptation; He was 'in all points tempted as we are, yet
without sin' (Hebrews 4:15). He therefore knows and
understands the cares, problems, and trials of our lives on
earth. 'For in that He Himself has suffered, being
tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted' (Hebrews
2:18). The life of Jesus on earth had as its ultimate
goal the salvation and reconciliation of the lost” (Kelcy).
“Paul explains the death of Jesus in these words in Romans
3:25-26: 'Whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood
[a propitiation is a gift that removes wrath; there's
reconciliation again], through faith, to demonstrate His
righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed
over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate
at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just
and the justifier of the one show has faith in Jesus.'
The mercy of God demanded the salvation of man, but the
justice of God demanded a penalty or punishment for man's
sin. It was the cross which provided an atonement
enabling God to exercise mercy and clemency without relaxing
the bands of just authority. It provided a way for
mercy to be extended without lowering the righteous and holy
character of God and the authority of Divine justice.
The honor of Divine law was preserved and at the same time
the clemency of Divine mercy was extended” (Kelcy)!
Salvation and reconciliation are the wonderful and
beneficial results of Jesus' first appearance!
Jesus' next appearance is mentioned in verse 24: “For Christ
has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are
copies of the true, but into heaven itself, NOW TO APPEAR in
the presence of God for us.” Did you hear those words: “Now
to appear”? This is referring to Jesus' present work.
“The work of Christ is not all in the past. He has appeared
on earth, but He now appears in heaven! Jesus is a
constant Savior. Even after we have been forgiven of
past transgressions, we still need a Savior, a Person who
will order our cause aright. The mediation of Jesus at
the throne of grace is as real and meaningful as His death.
[I John 2:1 reveals: “My little children, these things I
write to you, so that you may not sin. And If anyone sins we
have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the
righteous.” Satan may accuse us in God's heavenly
court, but Jesus pleads our case before God.] If we
could only hear Him standing before God and calling us His
brethren, how encouraging it would be! We may be
certain that it is being done. He who loved us enough
to die will not withhold any good thing. “What a
friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and grieves to bear.
What privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!”
Jesus bears our name upon His heart daily: 'But He, because
He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.
Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who
come to God through Him, since He always lives to make
intercession for them' (Hebrews 7:24-25)! His
salvation is comprehensive and complete. Jesus' second
appearance before God is a great consolation and
encouragement to those who are His disciples!
Jesus' next appearance is mentioned in verse 28: “To those
who eagerly wait for Him HE WILL APPEAR a second time, apart
from sin, for salvation.” Note again: He will appear.
“For the people of God, the second coming of Christ will be
'unto salvation'. Salvation cannot be viewed yet as a
completed process. '… for now our salvation is nearer
than when we first believed' (Romans 13:11). We await
the day when our Savior shall call us from the iron embrace
of the tomb to the warm arms of heaven. '… looking for
the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and
Savior Jesus Christ' (Titus 2:13). Yes, others have
worn the title 'savior,' and they were looked upon as the
saviors of people, but Jesus Christ is the only Savior who
can save from sin and bless His subjects with great hope
beyond the grave! He assured us that death is not the
end, but the beginning, that immortality is a fact, that
there is a place where love will find its own, that there is
a home of the soul. 'In my Father's house are many
mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to
prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a
place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself
that where I am, there you may be also' (John 14:2-3)” (Kelcy).
Paul writes this about Jesus' third appearance in 1
Thessalonians 4:16-18: “For the Lord Himself will descend
from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel,
and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ
will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain
shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet
the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with
the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these
words.” The apostle John encourages us with these
words: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not
yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He
is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we will see Him as He
is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies
himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:2-3). Every eye
will see Jesus at His third appearance (Revelation 1:7)!
Someone wrote a short poem, and another commented on it: “My
knowledge of that life is small, The eye of faith is dim,
But it's enough that Christ knows all, And I shall be with
Him (Baxter). To those who have learned to love and
trust Jesus, the prospect of meeting Him face to face and
being with Him forever is the hope that keeps us going, no
matter what life [or Satan] may throw at us" (Packer).
Jesus' salvation to come gives us a tremendous hope!
“Jesus came in grace, and He will come in glory. He
came to sow, He will come to reap. He has appeared on
earth, he now appears in heaven, and He will appear on the
clouds. He appeared to save mankind from sin's
penalty, He appears to save His disciples from sin's power,
and He will appear to save His children from sin's presence.
He appeared to REDEEM; He appears to REPRESENT; He will
appear TO RECEIVE! At His third appearance, the last
enemy, death, will be swallowed up in victory! Then, and
only then, will salvation be viewed as complete and perfect”
(Kelcy)! What a Savior He was! What a Reconciler
He is! What a Redeemer He will be! Someone has
observed: Here in this world, Jesus bids us: "Come!", but
there in the next, He will bid us: "Welcome!" (John Donne).
You can only hear His welcome if you will obey His: “Come!”