REPOST from 6-11-09
I read a lot of Biblical commentaries that have little respect for the
Old Testament sacrificial system. The most common dismissive remarks
call the sacrificial system something like, a barbaric practice for a blood-loving deity.
Humm. Seems too many people are unclear on the concept. In fact, those
people are guilty of imposing modern expectations on an ancient
I've talked to Jewish folks who are quite proud of the
fact that they no longer offer sacrifices for salvation. And yet, that
still misses the point. You see, the point of sacrifice is not that God
enjoys suffering and slaughter. The point is substitution; a life for a
life. And the funny thing is, you--yes, modern urban you--participated
in a sacrifice today. If you haven't yet done it today you did it
yesterday. If you didn't do it today or yesterday you are either fasting
or facing some serious health problems.
You see, every bite of food you put in your mouth is a participation in
the sacrificial system. Something died in your place; a life for a life.
And don't get all righteous and vegan on me, either. plants are living
things, too. To sustain our own life we must kill and consume living
things. We moderns have conveniently ignored this fact because we don't
do the violent deed ourselves, anymore. No, we pay the farmer, butcher
and Sara Lee to murder our fellow creatures and discreetly package them
for us. Hey, I'm not knocking eating living creatures, I'm knocking our
current, smug hypocrisy.
Which brings me back to the sacrificial
system. The whole point of the system is to point out our need. We are
not self-contained, self-sufficient creatures. We are not gods. We need
life. and we sustain the life within us by taking life from other
creatures. The book of Hebrews points out the ultimate futility of the
Old Testament sacrificial system; offering daily sacrifices that never
end. Those sacrifices were reminders of sin, they never absolved sin.
That is the reason Jesus gave his life on the cross for us. His death
was a cosmic event. A one-time ultimate sacrifice for sin. Life for
life. The sacrificial system and our dependence on food is the daily
reminder of our need in this life and a BIG, RED pointer to Jesus the Christ, who offers us life eternal, through the shedding of his blood.
Believe and repent.