Acceptable

Day 48

Prayer for the day

Satisfy us by your loving-kindness in the morning so shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.

Scripture for the day

Leviticus 21-22, Matthew 28

God’s requirements of the people of Israel with regard to the perfection of their sacrifices is specific. Do NOT bring to God anything that has a defect, but only that which is pure, unspoiled, and perfect. The people were to choose from the animals they had (or had to buy) something that was blemish-free, spotless, and perfect for the sacrifice.

Part of the reason for this was the gravity of the situation. Sacrifices were given to God because of the necessity of forgiveness. Such a gift to God must be something that is acceptable to God. The rationale is that the sinner takes the nature of sacrifice seriously enough that they bring a sacrifice that is worthy. This worthiness is understood to be connected to the health and perfection of the animal. Frankly, the animal is worth something.

To bring a bruised, broken, or defective animal was to treat the sin and the sacrificial system with contempt. It was to bring something less than acceptable, something maybe a little more affordable, something that would not cost as much to the sinner.

God instead demanded that what was brought cost a lot. This was not to bankrupt the Israelites but to allow them to see the gravity of sin and the cost of forgiveness. It was to teach them that the forgiveness of God was not something to be cheapened. It was valuable.

The acceptable sacrifice was the one that reminded the Israelites of their dependence on God. That sacrifice would be taken.

In the Second Testament, there is another sacrifice accepted. The sacrifice of Jesus for humankind is accepted by God because Jesus is the perfect, the sinless, sacrifice. And this sacrifice is proved acceptable by the resurrection. God stamps his seal of approval on the worthiness of Jesus Christ by bringing him back to life, by giving him a new and glorious body, and eventually by calling him back into full communion in the heavenly realm. This seal of approval is spoken of by Jesus himself when he speaks of all authority being given to him.

Jesus accomplished his mission. Jesus was the perfect and acceptable sacrifice.

And Jesus calls his people to both acknowledge that sacrifice and participate in it. He calls us to give our all for him, as he gave his all for us.

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