14 … even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:14-15 NKJV
Jesus Christ is the prescribed offering for each of our sins. In fact, His sacrifice as the innocent and spotless Lamb of God covers the sins of the whole world, for all who choose to receive Him and to believe in His resurrection power.
As Moses continued to prepare the Israelites to enter the Promised Land, he reminded them of the sacrifices that the law given by God on Mount Sinai required. The Lord specifically required each of these offerings to be made – some annually, some daily – as a reminder of the sins they had committed and as a fragrant offering to the Lord for forgiveness.
The blood of bulls and goats alone could never atone for the sins of man, sins that separate us from a holy and spotless God. Only the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ Himself had the power to do that. But the fragrant aroma of the Old Testament offerings reminded God of Christ’s coming sacrifice. They were also a stark reminder that without the shedding of blood, there could be no remission of sins, and no reconciliation between God and man.
10 But when you cross over the Jordan and dwell in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies round about, so that you dwell in safety, 11 then there will be the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide. There you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, and all your choice offerings which you vow to the Lord. Deuteronomy 12:10-11 NKJV
The place that the Lord is referring to is the temple in Jerusalem, the future site of God’s earthly city when Jesus Christ returns (Revelation 21). Jerusalem, the place of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, will also be the eternal seat where the Lord God’s name will abide forever. The Old Testament sacrifices and offerings prescribed by God through Moses each point to some element of the coming sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Christ’s sacrifice was not just a temporary reminder or annual event, it was THE eternal sacrifice sufficient to atone for all the sins in the history of the world, for all those who would seek it.
J. Vernon McGee has summarized the character of each of the offerings given in Leviticus chapters 1-5 as follows:
Burnt offerings – Christ our substitute.
Meal (Grain) offerings – The Loveliness of Christ
Peace offerings – Christ our Peace
Sin offerings – Christ took our sinful nature upon the cross
Trespass offerings – Christ took our sinful acts upon the cross
May we all today nail our sins, failures and shortcomings upon the cross of Christ. He wants to bear our burdens and lift each of them from us, be they a sinful past, shame, grief, fear, depression, addiction, loneliness, anxiety or whatever is weighing us down. Jesus loves us and wants to be our Peace today.
Besides providing a temporary cover for sins, the Old Testament ritual sacrifices were a reminder to the Israelites of the great wonders performed by God and of His countless blessings. Looking back, can you see how the Lord has blessed you this past year?
What do you need from Jesus today? I pray that He meets your needs and comforts you with His lovely and loving presence and peace. I pray that if you haven’t, you will accept His loving offer to you today.