August 13, 2015

Today you should read: Leviticus 1

I know every one of you woke this morning and prayed that we would be starting the book of Leviticus for Jumpstart. Well guess what…your prayers were answered! (You probably sense the sarcasm here). Okay, I know that when many of us think about Leviticus we don’t get all jazzed up about studying it. But, we honestly should. A few awesome things about Leviticus: It was written by Moses (reason enough to read it right there)! It showcases the holiness of God and gives us great insight into knowing Him more. It showcases God’s love for mankind and how God made intimacy with Him something possible for His people again. It’s all about worship and our response to God’s love and holiness. Finally, it’s all about Jesus!

Okay, you might have been thrown off a bit by that last one there. What do you mean, it’s all about Jesus? Well, before you call me a heretic and think I’m crazy for saying that; realize that God’s ultimate plan for the redemption and restoration of mankind was always Jesus. The things we will read about in Leviticus (The Tabernacle, system of offerings & sacrifices, instructions for the priests, instructions on how the ordinary people should live, purification rituals, the Day of Atonement, the year of Jubilee, etc. etc. etc.) were all prescribed by God to the people of Israel so that their sins could be forgiven, they could have communion with Him and one another, they could worship Him and glorify Him with their lives, and be a light to other nations. But, these things were just temporary solutions and foreshadowed the ultimate eternal solution to our sin problem that Jesus would provide through His death and resurrection. When we realize that everything in scripture points to Jesus (even Leviticus) it changes how we understand the OT scripture and strengthens our faith tremendously.

With that in mind, in chapter one we begin with the Israelites camped at the foot of Mt. Sinai ready to learn how to follow The Lord who had delivered them from their slavery in Egypt. The first instruction they receive is about how to give a burnt offering to The Lord. This was a very significant offering because this was a sin offering. A person who had sinned brought an animal with no defects to the priest (this unblemished animal signified the perfection demanded by God for a sacrifice). The animal brought was sacrificed by the priest in substitution of the person who had committed the sin. So, the sins were transferred to the animal and thus the persons sins were taken away or atoned for. But, this was only temporary and the process had to be repeated year after year. Remember how everything points to Jesus….Hebrews chapter 10 shows us how this does:

Heb 10:1-10 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2 Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. 4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

5 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:

“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
6 with burnt offerings and sin offerings
you were not pleased.
7 Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
I have come to do your will, my God.’”[a]

8 First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. 9 Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

How awesome is that!!! The sacrifice that Jesus made to atone for our sin happened once and was for all sin, for all time! If there is anything we can take away from this first chapter in Leviticus is an overwhelming sense of thankfulness and gratitude for how Jesus dealt with our sin permanently and the freedom we have in the New Covenant in Christ!

Take some time this morning to reflect on how amazing that truth really is (we don’t often stop and think about it). Praise Jesus today for being the ultimate sacrifice, once and for all, so that you could be redeemed and restored to a relationship with God. Praise God this morning for the freedom you have in Christ and allow that freedom to exhort you forward as you serve Him faithfully with your life.

I hope you’re genuinely excited about going through Leviticus the next few weeks. I would highly encourage you to study it more in depth yourself in addition to Jumpstart. God has revealed so much to us in this book about Himself and His redemptive plan which always was….His Son Jesus.

Posted by: Matt Mofield