NT Connect: 2 Corinthians 5:21
Weekly Reading: Leviticus 1-6
Christ: Our Guilt Offering
I have often thought that the book of Leviticus is difficult for Christians to read, let alone enjoy. It comes right after the incredible stories of Exodus, and it appears to be one regulation after another. The laws seem so distant from us today, and the cultural context of the book is so different than our own. I read about animal sacrifices and think, “Well that’s different.” However, we cannot let these things keep us from seeing what this book teaches us in the overall story of God.
What we know is that thousands of years ago, God established a way for the sin of mankind to be covered through a system of sacrifices that the Old Testament taught. The sacrifices served a few different purposes: (1) these sacrifices would act as a method in which to find forgiveness of sin; (2) these sacrifices showed the seriousness of sin and the holiness of God; and (3) and these sacrifices demonstrated God shows us mercy and grace by accepting a substitute for sin.
As we are able to look back on Leviticus today, we can see Christ clearly through the Old Testament sacrificial system. The sacrificial system we read about in Leviticus was given to the people of Israel to make their relationship with God right. By understanding the book of Leviticus, we can better understand the work of Christ in the New Testament. The Israelites were similar to us today in the following way: we both have the problem of sin and are in need of a way to have that sin forgiven.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (NLT). As we are able to read on this side of the New Testament, we see the that Jesus’ death means sacrifices are no longer necessary. Christ became the final, ultimate, and perfect sacrifice for the sin of mankind and took away the need for man to perform sacrifices.
The New Testament reminds us that Jesus is better. He is better than the angels, he is better than the prophets, better than Moses, his priesthood is better than any priest to come before him, and his blood and sacrifice are better than those of goats and bulls. The sacrificial system was simply insufficient when compared to the work of Christ. The requirements for sacrifices in the Old Testament cause us to see that the penalty of sin is death and that the forgiveness of our sin today is made possible because of the sufficient work of Christ.
As we read through the Old Testament, may we see clearly Christ shining through the pages as all of Scripture bears witness to him. May we love Jesus more deeply as we find our forgiveness in the one who became the offering for our sin so we could be made right with God.