THIS WEEK: Favorite Forgiveness Moments
Yesterday marked the observance of Yom Kippur.
Perhaps you missed it unless you are of the Jewish faith. Yesterday was a day of fasting and a culmination of a 10-day period from their New Year (Rosh Hashanah) and Yom Kippur. Their current practice believe there are times where God is more distant and times where he is more near. These ten days are to be ones of repentance and prayer, with the assurance that God will immediately accept them during this period.
The celebration certainly has significance for the modern Jew, but today’s’ observance doesn’t seem as poignant and, honestly, bloody.
The Day of Atonement was not a good day for a bull and two goats. The bull gave his blood on behalf of the sins of the high priest and his household. The blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat of God (the surface of the ark of the covenant found in the Most Holy Place.) The first goat died to give his blood for the sins of the community of Israel. His blood too was sprinkled on the mercy seat in the presence of God. The second goat was spared (temporarily) as the priest laid his hands on the goat, transferring the guilt of all the people to the “scapegoat.” This goat was then led outside the camp to a solitary place, and left to die. (Read the full account in Leviticus 16.)
Why all this?
God was graphically teaching that sin was serious and making atonement for it was consequential. The forgiveness of sin demanded the shedding of blood.
In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Hebrews 9:22)
But we don’t bring bulls and goats to be slaughtered. (Thank goodness!)
The blood of animals was insufficient and imperfect, but a regular reminder of the price of forgiveness. As we heard yesterday, it is easy to say, “Your sins are forgiven.” It is much more significant to pay the price for forgiveness.
Yet we have one who did just that.
… 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. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; ….. (Hebrews 9:26-28)
To ensure it benefit us, he gives it to us. Each time we partake of the Lord’s Supper we receive the promise that the price of our forgiveness has been paid in full. Each day we partake of the Lord’s Supper is perhaps the New Testament Christian’s mini “Yom Kippur” (Day of Atonement). No more blood of bulls and goats…just the blood of Jesus!
Matthew 26:26 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.”
27 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Apply: Do you take time to reflect on your sin and repent prior to receiving the Lord’s Supper? Time for reflection and repentance brings heightened appreciation for the forgiveness God gives in the Lord’s Supper.
Prayer: Jesus thank you for shedding your blood so that I might know with certainty the price for my forgiveness has been paid in full! AMEN.