Scripture reading for February 17th: Leviticus 1-3, Psalm 27, Hebrews 2
Hebrews 2:14-18 “Since, therefore, the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels He helps, but He helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore He had to be made like His brothers in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because He, Himself has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.”
The writer of Hebrews shared how the descendants of Abraham were partakers of flesh and blood. They were also sinners and lived under a slavery to the fear of death. God had placed eternity in their hearts and they knew that they would stand before God as a judge. God’s remedy to help lost and enslaved mankind was to send His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and to live in perfect obedience to the Father. Jesus came in human flesh and was subject to the trials and temptations common to sinful man. But He was sinless and offered His body and blood as the perfect sacrifice for sins. Atonement and propitiation are the two words used to describe what the substitute sacrifice would provide. Through Jesus, deliverance from the slavery of fear of death and sin’s power and cleansing from sin was accomplished.
Leviticus 1:3-5 “If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish. He shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the Lord. He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. Then he shall kill the bull before the Lord, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall bring the blood and throw the blood against the sides of the altar that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for sending Your Son as the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. Thank You that He is a merciful High Priest and understands our weaknesses and need for mercy. Thank You for the perfect and complete sacrifice of Jesus Christ delivering us from fear of death and the power and penalty of sin. We now see the goodness of God in the land of the living!
Psalm 27:13-14 “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.”
ForScripture reading for February 19th: Numbers 7-10, Mark 8
Key Scriptures: Mark 8:36-38 “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
Jesus was teaching His disciples about the worth of a single soul. All the money in the world could not purchase a soul. There wasn’t any price in earthly things that could buy a person freedom for his soul. That is because all had sinned and were under the sentence of death. When the final judgment comes and Jesus returns, each person will either confess Jesus as Lord or forfeit their souls to eternal punishment. Even the Levites had to offer blood sacrifice for their atonement.
Numbers 8:12 “Then the Levites shall lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, and you shall offer the one for the sin offering and the other for a burnt offering to the Lord to make atonement for the Levites.”
Prayer: Lord, Thank You for the sacrifice of Your Son as atonement for our sins. It is hard for me to understand how you could place that value on me and all people of the world. Amen.
Scripture reading for December 15th: Hebrews 5-9
Key Scriptures: Hebrews 9:22-24 “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these (the blood of bulls and goats). . . . But now He (Christ) has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”
The writer of Hebrews was showing Jewish believers how Jesus Christ fulfilled the requirements of Scripture. Because the law required blood sacrifice for atonement for sins, blood must be shed and presented before God at the place and in the manner He commanded. But in Jesus Christ, we have something better than a copy, we have the actual sinless Son of God offering Himself–body and blood–as a covering for the sins of man. He presented His own blood on the altar of Heaven, not a copy on earth. This satisfied God’s justice once for all who by faith believe!
Thankful for the blood of atonement: “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.” (Leviticus 17:11)
Scripture reading for May 1st: John 1:29-51
“The next day John (the Baptist) saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the One I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me.'” (John 1:29-30) John the Baptist came calling all people to repent and be baptized in the Jordan river. He had told them that One was coming after him whose sandals he was not worthy to untie. This One would surpass him, and would baptize people with the Holy Spirit. (John 1:26, 33) He also told the people plainly that Jesus was the Son of God! Speaking prophetically, John announced that Jesus was the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the whole world!
This story of the lamb is richly embedded in the history of Israel. When Abraham and Isaac went up Mt. Moriah to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, Abraham had told his son that the Lord would provide a sacrifice. (Genesis 22:8) As Abraham lifted the knife to slay his son, God stopped him and provided a ram in place of the boy! (Genesis 22:10-13)
On the night of the Passover in Egypt, Moses was instructed each family take a lamb without spot or blemish and slay that lamb, catching the blood. With hyssop, the head of each house was to apply the blood to the doorposts and lentils of the house to keep the death angel from taking the firstborn. (Exodus 12:3-12) They were to eat the lamb roasted in fire and with bitter herbs and unleavened bread, ready to travel out of Egypt. This lamb would sustain them and there would be no feeble or sick among them. The lamb would atone for a family!
Once a year, the High Priest, would take a goat and sacrifice it, taking the blood and sprinkling it on the atonement cover inside the Holy of Holies. This was to take place on the Day of Atonement. This goat died to cover the sins and rebellion of the whole nation of Israel. (Leviticus 16:15-17, 34)
Jesus Christ came as the Lamb of God taking away the sins of the whole world! He was the final sacrifice, His blood being offered in Heaven to cover the sins of each person who would repent and believe! (Hebrews 9:6-14) Hallelujah!
Scripture reading for February 6: Leviticus 16-17
Man is always looking for someone to blame for sin. It was the “woman you gave me” for Adam. Eve became his “scapegoat”! It was the “serpent” for Eve that became her “scapegoat”. God Himself was blamed by both of them as the ultimate problem. Amazingly, God had already planned to provide a “scapegoat”!
God loves man and worked out a picture of salvation from sin which is recorded in these chapters of Leviticus. God set apart one day a year when the High Priest could go behind the curtain of the Holy of Holies in the Tent of Meeting. That day was called the Day of Atonement. The term “atonement” simply means a “covering”. On this day, the Israelites could have a yearly “covering” for their sins.
First, a bull was killed and the blood sprinkled for the High Priest as a sacrifice for his sins. Then two goats were brought before the Tent and lots were cast. One of the goats was sacrificed and the blood sprinkled by the High Priest behind the curtain for the sins of the people. Everyone waited outside to see if God would accept the sacrifice for sins committed. They were relieved when the High Priest came out. (Leviticus 16:6-19)
The second goat was then brought forward. The High priest laid his hands on it and confessed the sins and rebellion of the Israelites. This goat was then led out away from the camp into the wilderness to a solitary place and left there. As the Israelites watched the goat bearing their sins disappear in the distance, they were reminded of the sacrifice necessary to bring a covering for their sins. God provided a “scapegoat” who would take the blame for them! (Leviticus 16:20-28)
God’s point was that sin was costly! Life is in the blood and blood alone could “atone” for the sins of a rebellious people. (Leviticus 17:11) One bull must die for the High Priest and his family. One goat must die for the sins of the nation. One goat must be burdened with the sins of the nation and bear it into the wilderness to face the wild beasts and certain death. This all was an illustration that taught of man’s need for covering from sin and our corporate need for a “scapegoat”!
Jesus Christ came as God’s designated “scapegoat”! He offered Himself on the cross to make “atonement” for our sins. He shed His own blood to pay the penalty for our sins, once for all time! (Hebrews 9:11-14) He bore our sins and carried them away into a place of God’s forgetfulness, never to be remembered again! (Hebrews 10:17)
Wow! What we tried to do on our own by blaming others, God did for us by laying our sins on His own Son and sacrificing Him for us! All we can do is say “amen” to God’s work on our behalf! What a loving and giving Lord!
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10 NIV