A Perfect Sacrifice
Scripture: Numbers 8:1-9:14; Leviticus 1:1-3:17
In today’s reading we witness the dedication of the Levites to the Lord's service and the Israelites’ commemoration of the second Passover. Passover is a celebration of remembering—remembering when the Angel of Death passed over the homes of the Israelites and killed every firstborn of Egypt. This plague turned Pharaoh’s heart and caused him to release God’s people from slavery. During Passover, the Israelites brought their offerings to God to atone for their sins.
Each burnt, grain, and peace offering had its own specifications and purposes. Though the offerings varied, they had one thing in common: they had to be without blemish or physical defect. The offerings foreshadowed the perfect sacrifice to come, Jesus (Hebrews 10:12).
The Last Supper that Jesus and His disciples observed coincided with the yearly Passover. The next day, Jesus flawlessly surrendered to the altar of the cross. “Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). God’s divine timing is remarkable!
Jesus’ sacrifice releases us from the slavery of sin. Because we are marked by His blood, we are passed over from spiritual death. Romans 5:18 tells us that “Christ's one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.” This is amazing truth, but it’s important to remember that it doesn’t mean we are free to sin willy-nilly. As His children, we are called to symbolically place ourselves on the altar of sacrifice each day. We present our whole being (mind, body, soul, and spirit) to Him with the best, purest, and highest intentions to obey, serve, and honor God in everything we do.
Sacrifice may call us to serve the Lord overseas, within our own city, or next door by shoveling snow from our neighbor’s driveway. It might mean giving the money we saved for a new purse to a homeless shelter, or praying for a rude co-worker, or letting go of anger toward a hurtful friend. For sure, our sacrifice includes acknowledging our sins and asking for God’s forgiveness.
Let’s take some time today to remember Jesus’ sacrifice and to present our mind, body, soul, and spirit to the Lord as we ask what sacrifices we can make.