August 14, 2015

Today you should read: Leviticus 2

First glance: Leviticus 2 looks like a rough day at Panera Bread. Once you grasp the context and meaning: this is really cool, Kingdom stuff. Here’s why:

This chapter is a great reminder to us that God is set apart, and he deserves to be worshiped on His terms! He chose these specific offerings as a reminder to His children that He has an order and plan to worship. Just like in the following chapters, this one reminds us that even something so trivial like bread has its place in paying honor to the King of the universe.

But there is grace here too.

Every time these offerings were made, what do you think the people remembered? Hopefully, the reality of God’s provision rang true in their minds. He sustained their lives. He provided for their needs. Literally, He put food on the table for them in the Exodus. Jehovah Jireh is a fitting title for our God.

What is the big picture though? When you read this chapter, doesn’t it feel like there should be more? Yes indeed. And there is! His name is Jesus. He is the ultimate bread-giver and bread-offering. His new covenant has a whole lot to do with bread, but it is best understood in what we find in Leviticus 2. His body is bread for us, perfectly broken on our behalf. He is the Bread of Life. He is the food that satisfies for all of eternity. Let your mind be overtaken by this familiar passage today as we close:

For the bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” So they said to him, “Sir, always give us this bread!” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never be hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty again. But I said to you that you have seen me and do not believe. Everyone whom the Father gives to me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never throw out, because I have come down from heaven not that I should do my will, but the will of the one who sent me. Now this is the will of the one who sent me: that everyone whom he has given me, I would not lose any of them,d but raise theme up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks at the Son and believes in him would have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:33-40

Posted by: Todd Thomas

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