Blood. Red, oozy, life that courses through our bodies bringing with it the needs of a living being. Blood bothers us today. As I have been reading through Leviticus I am brought up close to a massive amount of blood that was being prescribed for an ongoing relationship with a Holy God!
But the blood bothers us in our sanitized and civilized communities and culture. I have taken several trips around the world to deliver the good news of Jesus Christ. The trips have not bothered me, or the team, the way recent trips have. As we prepared for travel to Africa we were reminded of the HIV issue. We were going into a country for dental and evangelism work. This region is known for high rates of HIV/AIDS. We began discussing our operations and precautions. Blood-born diseases are life-threatening. While it is true that the life is in the blood, so also is death and disease. This fear has changed how every sporting event is conducted. No longer does a player remain in play if blood is noticed. Everyone stops and the player exits the field of play until the blood is handled. This fear has changed the sidelines as well. Everyone who works on an injured player is double and triple gloved to prevent any transference and contamination.
As we begin to read through Leviticus, all we see is death and blood. The bull’s throat is cut and the blood spills everywhere. Then Moses sprinkles blood on the altar and spreads it on the horns. Blood is placed on the right ear, right thumb, and right big toe of Aaron during his priestly ordination and preparation. Three animals killed in a matter of moments. Blood is everywhere on the ground, the altar, and people closest. We shy away from Leviticus not only because of the blood and our resolve is fading off the new year, but also because we don’t get it.
Romans, Chapter 3
21 But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses[i] and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
The burnt offering was made in order to rid oneself of sin and be fully submissive to God. Because of the sin of the person, something had to receive the punishment in the place of the person. So an animal, without blemish was brought to the altar for sacrifice. This animal was fantastic! They did not bring the sick and lame that we would leave back in the barn. They would take the one that just won grand champion and sacrifice it. The blood that was shed from that perfect animal was there to cover the sin of the person. The cutting of the throat and bleeding to death was painful. This punishment was given to the animal instead of the person.
Romans, Chapter 3
24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.
The blood covered the sin. The punishment was given to a substitute. This is the picture of Jesus Christ. Leviticus comes alive when you keep Jesus in your mind as you read it. Holy God could not relate with sinful man apart from the removal of sin. The sacrifices gave mankind a way to remain in the presence of, and under the protection of, God. After humanity became so entirely wicked and the sacrifices were meaningless, they no longer affected the mercy of God. At that time, He sent Jesus Christ, who knew no sin, to become sin IN OUR PLACE! Jesus is the priest and the sacrifice.
Oh, the blood of Jesus that washes away sin.