No doubt there is a lot of detail to try and take in and work through when it comes to reading Leviticus. But in these opening chapters the “big picture ideas” are evident simply because of repetition. Yesterday, I noticed that the sacrifices, and what they foreshadowed, were “a pleasing aroma” to the Lord. In today’s reading what rises to the surface amidst all the details is the priest.
And the priest shall make atonement for him before the LORD, and he shall be forgiven for any of the things that one may do and thereby become guilty. (Leviticus 6:7 ESV)
Five times in Leviticus 5 and then here, in chapter 6, the phrase is repeated, “the priest shall make atonement.” Kind of hard not to notice it. Kind of hard not to also note the pattern: Sin demands compensation . . . while the sinner can bring the offering, only the priest can offer it . . . the offering is for atonement, it’s about covering the sin with the blood of a pure and spotless sacrifice . . . and atonement is the basis upon which God can provide forgiveness. From sin to the forgiveness of sin . . . in the middle of it all is the priest.
Day in and day out they are slicing and dicing and pouring out blood on behalf of the people of God. Back breaking work . . . nostrils filled with the odor of burnt offerings . . . up to their armpits in dead animals . . . covered with blood. All in order to make atonement . . . to make way for forgiveness . . . that God might remain in their midst . . . that they might continue abide in His presence as His people.
And I’m reminded that my sin too demanded a price. That before a holy God, my unrighteousness was a barrier and needed to be atoned for. That my transgressions needed to be covered by the blood of a spotless sacrifice. And that such sacrifice needed to be presented by an anointed, set apart priest of God’s ordaining.
Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession . . . we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God . . . (Hebrews 3:1, 10:10-12 ESV)
The sacrifices I’m reading about this morning, offered by the priests I’m reading about this morning, though atoning for sin, could never take away sin. But with the presentation of the body of Christ on our behalf . . . and with the shedding of the blood of Christ for our sins . . . offered through the priesthood of Christ once for all . . . all who believe can know a forever freedom from sin.
He is the offering . . . He is the compensation for the debt we owe . . . He is the atoning covering for the sin stain we bear. And, He is the Priest . . . and His priesthood is permanent, because He continues forever . . . as such, “He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25).
Behold the Priest.
To Him be glory alone!