The Ultimate Sacrifice

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April 23, 2023

Leviticus 1-15

This week we began reading Leviticus. This book is about the duties of the Israelites which concerns worshipping the LORD at the tabernacle. The focus is about the holiness of God and of man. According to Leviticus 11:44, the LORD is holy. It says, “44 I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.”

While God is holy, man is not. From the beginning, Adam and Eve sinned. According to Christianity Today, the word In the Bible for sin, (khata), means to “miss the mark; God’s mark.” It is deviating from obedience to God’s character or will. 1 John 3:4 says, “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.”

When we sin, it separates us from God. Isaiah 59:2 says, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God, your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”

 Because the LORD is holy and man is not because of sin, there is a separation in relationship. God still wanted a relationship with the Israelites. Thus, the LORD set up a system of sacrifice to be holy in His presence. The sacrifices were either an animal or grain offering given by a priest who stood in mediation between the sinner and God. There was a burnt offering, a grain offering, fellowship offering, sin offering, and guilt offering. Some of the sacrifices were voluntary, but the sin and guilt offering were mandatory.

This system was put in place to show the Israelite’s devotion to God, relationship with God, and a way to have forgiveness of sins. After the sacrifice, as seen in Leviticus chapter 9, the presence of the LORD was upon them. Lev 9:22-23, “22 Then Aaron lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them. And having sacrificed the sin offering, the burnt offering and the fellowship offering, he stepped down. 23 Moses and Aaron then went into the tent of meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people; and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people.”

How are the sacrifices talked about in Leviticus relevant to us today? These sacrifices are a foreshadowing of the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross. The LORD still requires holiness to be in his presence. 1 Peter 1:15-16 says, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Romans 3:23 says,  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 7:23 says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

What does it mean that the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus? God sent his son Jesus to be a sin offering for the world. Jesus was not forced, he sacrificed himself willingly for the forgiveness of sins.

When an animal was taken to the tabernacle to be sacrificed for a sin offering, he had to be without blemish. Jesus was perfect and without sin (blemish). When the person who brought the animal, he was to lay his hand on the animal and this symbolized the transferring of sin from the man to the animal. This was only symbolic, and only for the current sin. If a person sinned again, they would have to bring another animal in for sacrifice.

When Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross, he bore the sins of the world; past, present and future. No other sacrifice was needed after his death. When Jesus died he said, “It is finished.” (John 19:30).

Christ is our perfect priest who is always the mediator between God and us. Hebrews 2:15 says, 17 For this reason he had to be made like them,[k] fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.”  Hebrews 8:1 says “Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, uone who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven,”

Christ is sitting at the right hand of God and he is now our permanent mediator. Hebrews 9:14-15 says, “14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death,[c] so that we may serve the living God! 15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”

Thus, when we believe in Jesus, and are saved from our sins, we no longer have separation from God. We have access to God anytime through Jesus Christ.

Have you asked Christ to forgive you of your sins? Are there any barriers between you and God? Psalm 139-23-24 is a great prayer to find the answer.

Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting
.”

  Next week we will read Leviticus 16-27.

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