February 03, 2007

A Costly Sacrifice

Leviticus 1:1-9

"When any of you brings an offering to the LORD ..." Leviticus 1:2


Notice that God does not say, "If you need to bring a sacrifice ..." God is not saying, "Let's talk about it; let's see if you really need forgiveness." God says, "When ..." making clear that everyone needs forgiveness.

And that's not all. You do not bring an offering because the priest demands it, but because you know you must bring one. Even more, it's not the priest but you who must place your hand on the sacrificial animal, and then you must slaughter it. In this way God is saying you are intimately and terribly connected to this bloody sacrifice. You know it; you know you need it; you acknowledge it by placing your guilty hands on the sacrifice.

The Bible's language of sacrifice is not only bloody; it also confronts us with the awful cost of living in God's presence. An offering from your herd or flock was to be without defect, the best of the lot. It had to be an animal that cost you the most to give up.

Life with God comes at a high price. Long ago one flawless animal would atone for one person contaminated and broken by sin. But such a sacrifice had to be repeated again and again for a lifetime.

Today, however, the perfect Lamb of God, Jesus, is more than enough to pay for the sins of all whom God calls. Jesus gave his life, the most costly sacrifice of all, to be the one sacrifice for all time. For you, for me.

"Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon you? It is my treason, Lord, that has undone you. 'Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied you; I crucified you." In your name, Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!