A Bloody Covenant

Exodus 29:1-30:10; Matthew 26:14-46; Hebrews 10:1-25

“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” -Matthew 26:26-28

Biblical atonement is bloody. Sacrifices made to consecrate priests, yearly and daily sin offerings, left a constant reminder of death. As I was reading about the sacrificial practices in the Old Testament I kept thinking how barbaric it is. In our sanitized modern living this world seems so removed from our own. Yet this is what God instituted before Christ, foreshadowing the cross to end all sacrifices once and for all. The blood of bulls and rams did not take away the peoples’ sins but implied confession of sin, recognizing the necessity of shed blood as atonement. God accepted this offering in anticipation of the finished work of Jesus.

Our sin is barbaric. Animal sacrifices are a picture of what sin does. It kills, as the consequence for sin is death. An in-your-face daily, blood-filled, cut up animal in place of your sin is sobering. I don’t like to dwell on the horrors of sin, mine or in general. The sin of humanity causes destruction wherever it goes, diminishing us to our worst selves as base creatures. This is one of the reasons God graciously reminded Israel of their sin and need for cleansing. We are all sinful. Once we are aware of our sinfulness, only then can a person come before the Lord in need. You realize someone or something is required to take away your sin because we can’t. You need a Savior.

Praise God for sending Jesus as our Atonement. The blood of Jesus covers every believer, serving as the propitiation for our sins. Our guilt is not counted against us as we are no longer condemned (Romans 8:1). At the same time I wonder if we who live post-resurrection frequently mediate on the ugliness of sin. We see its effects all around us but how often do we stop and remember what we once were? If you are in Jesus your sins are forgiven, but by remembering how far the Lord has brought you, no, transformed you, should fill every one of us with awe-inspired worship.

We have a Savior who redeemed us by becoming a Perfect Sacrifice. Jesus is the New Covenant. There is no longer the need to go through a priest, offering animals to be slaughtered on our behalf. Jesus has completed this function. He is the Great High Priest and Sacrifice. So we look back to the commands of bloody offerings, reminding us of the sorrow sin brings. We also rejoice in what Jesus has done for mankind. He paid the hefty price of my sin so I never have to. For those who place their faith in Him, the stains of sin and death have no hold on them.

 

Grace upon grace,

April

 

Grow deeper: Ephesians 2:1-9; Titus 3:3-8

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