Substitution — Leviticus 1-3

So I’m a little late with this post, but I’m hoping that it’s better late than never. Today’s reading begins God’s instruction to the high priests and Levites, who would preside over the sacrificial system of Israel’s worship. There are a ton of details here, but there a couple of things I thought might be stimulating to your thoughts on this passage.

First, please notice that the animals of these sacrifices needed to be without blemish. The species of animal might vary, the gender is sometimes variable, but never the quality. It is easy to be tempted to offer less than the best of you herd or flock — or time, or efforts, or budget, or love. We tend to want to protect them for ourselves, for a special occasion, or a special person. We reason (poorly) that God will understand, or that it’s poor stewardship (yes, I’ve heard this reason used for not helping the needy), or that we won’t have enough for ourselves (O we of little faith). But God rightly expects the best, the unblemished, the first fruit.

Second, please notice the substitutionary nature of the sacrifices. As the offerer puts his hand on the head of the offering, he is saying that the animal is in MY place. This is the underlying reality of sacrifice — it should be actually me, but I place this animal, grain, libation, money in my place. It’s easy, then, to see how it never really did away with sin until Jesus (see Hebrews; when a real, voluntary, unblemished substitute offered Himself. It’s also easier to understand why nothing less than our best (see above) would be acceptable.

See you tomorrow, Lord willing.

About parklinscomb

I'm a minister for the church of Christ in Manchester NH where I've worked since the 1970's. I'm a big fan of my family, archaeology, the Bible, the Lord's church, and Gander Brook Christian Camp.
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