The Best of the Best
He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. Hebrews 9:12 NIV
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 1 Peter 1:18-19 NIV
Let's look at the Old Testament practice of sacrifices. If you read the law given to the Israelites through Moses, you see that periodically an animal was sacrificed, and that blood was spilled out over the altar, and that this would atone the sins of the people. This worked, of course, until the people sinned again.
The ritual was very specifically spelled out to the people, and to us in Scripture. Not just any animal would do. The animal had to be the best of the best. It could not be bruised in any way. The idea was that God was worthy of the best (He is today, too, by the way!) and so you wouldn’t take Him a sacrifice that was less than the best. There might be a tendency, for instance, to take God the runt of the litter. “If we can’t use it, then why not give it to God?” This attitude wouldn’t work.
I’m told that the shepherds who were “keeping watch over their flocks nearby” when the angels came to tell the Good News of Jesus’ birth, were actually watching the sacrificial sheep. Those sheep which had been gleaned from the original herd, prepared to be sacrificed, were the best of the best sheep. (These sheep would soon be no longer needed, because the real Sacrifice had arrived!)
The whole process of sacrificing was done away with through the perfect sacrifice of Christ. He didn’t bring to God a sheep or a goat. He could have. He could have brought God a thousand herds to slaughter. There could have been blood flowing from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. But, Christ, did something even better. Having lived a sinless life, He was, and is, the best of the best! Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice! He shed His own blood.
Guess what? He did it for you and me!
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