What is the most significant sacrifice you have ever made?
Typically, when we give sacrificially to someone or to some endeavor, we give from our excess.
We sacrifice a little of our extra time.
We sacrificially give from our savings.
We may even sacrifice our relationships or our peace for a short period of time.
Even after we make a sacrifice, we expect some reward or gain afterwards. The extent of our sacrifice reveals our level of commitment. The more we are willing to sacrifice exposes how much the recipient means to us.
God sacrificed His most precious thing for those He loves the most with no expectations and with no guarantee of repayment.
Jesus Christ is the ultimate demonstration of God’s full commitment towards loving us.
Despite humanity’s persistent betrayal and rejection of God, He loves us. Despite humanity’s failure to obey God’s law, He loves us. Despite our inability to commit fully and faithfully to God, He loves us. He loved us then and loves us still.
We can be absolutely confident and certain of God’s commitment to His people by evaluating His sacrifice to us: Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the ultimate and perfect sacrifice.
Before Jesus, the priests of the Old Testament would accept the blood of an innocent and unblemished animal to pay the penalty for the sins of the people (Leviticus 22:17-25). God required blood be shed in order to remind people that any sin required the death penalty (Romans 6:23). This animal would temporarily take the place of the sinner’s required death. The blood sacrifice would symbolically remove the sin, and God would forgive the sinner for that one, specific sin (Hebrews 9:22).
Try to imagine that scene in your own life.
With every lie, every unholy thought, every act of anger, pride, or jealousy, you have to stop everything you are doing. You have to select one of your innocent, unblemished, perfect animals. You have to walk to the priest at the tabernacle to have the animal slain in order to be forgiven.
Each and every single time.
Imagine all of the blood that would be shed on your behalf in one day, one week, much less your entire life. So much innocent blood.
Because of His great love for us, God provided us the perfect sacrifice. Jesus Christ, our innocent, perfect Lamb, was the final sacrifice. The one and only sacrifice needed to atone for our sin. No more bulls, goats, or lambs are required (Hebrews 10:14).
Believers in Jesus have been made holy through Jesus’ sacrifice. We can now enter directly into the presence of God with our worship, praise, and petitions. This is because believers have been made acceptable through the blood of Jesus. Jesus connects us to God.
Jesus is the ultimate and perfect High Priest.
Before Jesus, the Old Testament priests were Levite men appointed by God from the line of Aaron and his descendants (Exodus 28:1). Priests were called to be the mediators between God and the Israelites. Some of their responsibilities were to offer sacrifices for the sins of individuals and of the collective (Exodus 29:38-42), teach the people (Leviticus 10:8-11), and bless and pray for the people (Numbers 6:22-27).
Jesus Christ is our superior example of High Priest. Unlike the appointed high priests of old, Jesus is now the one and only mediator between people and God (1 Timothy 2:5). Without Jesus, we cannot seek God (John 6:44; 14:6). Jesus was willing to sacrifice His life for us, and now He lives to pray to God for us and intervene for us (Hebrews 7:25) from His eternal throne in heaven.
What does this mean for believers of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection?
Because of God’s great love for us and because of Jesus’ willing sacrifice, believers are now part of a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5,9). We now have unrestricted access to God at any time and for any reason.
As priests of God, what are a believer’s sacrifices?
Once saved, as part of God’s holy priesthood, believers are called to serve God with all of our hearts, minds, and souls. As believers, we offer our lives as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2).
Because of our union with Jesus Christ, we are able to act as priest and as sacrifice, just like Jesus.
We read, study, and share the Word of God. We bless and pray for people. We offer sacrifices of worship and praise. We sacrificially serve the Church with our spiritual gifts. Most importantly, we lead people to Jesus Christ so they can be forever reconciled with God.
How is God calling you to act as priest in your home, your neighborhood, your church, and your world? How can we pray for you as you offer yourself as a living sacrifice?
Peace and grace to you,