May 2, 2013
READ: Leviticus 1:1-13
God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time (Hebrews 10:10).
An attempt by climbers in 1936 to scale the north face of the Eiger, a mountain in the Bernese Alps in Switzerland, is depicted in the film North Face. Two German mountain climbers, Toni Kurz and Andi Hinterstoisser, battle the elements and other challenges during their ill-fated attempt to be the first team to reach the summit. In one powerful scene, Andi must cut his own rope and fall to his death in order to spare Toni’s life.
Tragically, just a short time later, Toni succumbs to the freezing conditions. Andi’s sacrifice to save his friend was exemplary. But Toni still died. Jesus’ sacrifice for us, however, allows us to be set free from guilt and spiritual death forever (Hebrews 10:10). He alone could do what countless sacrifices of the past could not.
In Leviticus 1, one of several sacrifices that God required under the old covenant is presented. The burnt offering (v.3) was an offering of atonement to cleanse and restore worshippers from the guilt of their sin. It’s interesting, however, that this required sacrifice actually reminded God’s people of their ongoing struggle with sin.
The people were required to sacrifice a male animal with no defects (vv.3,10). But these imperfect ‘perfect’ sacrifices needed to be done year after year. God would accept the death of the animals as a means of purifying His sinning people (v.4). But later, their sin would lead them back to the altar once again.
When Jesus died on the cross He was the only one who could provide atonement for our sins—for He was truly perfect. And “by that one offering He forever made perfect those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:14).
If you’ve received Jesus as your Saviour, you’re no longer under the curse of sin and death. Because of Jesus’ perfect eternal sacrifice, your guilt has been replaced by God’s grace.—Tom Felten
Read Hebrews 9:11-14 for a greater understanding of why Jesus needed to go to the cross and what He accomplished there.
If you’ve been saved by Jesus’ sacrifice, why is it important that you don’t continue to feel guilty for sins He’s forgiven? What does Jesus’ death on the cross mean to you?