Devotional: ‘The Need for a Better Sacrifice’

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The Jewish priesthood was established when God gave the Law to Moses. God set aside one specific tribe (the tribe of Levi) to furnish the priests for the entire nation. From the tribe of Levi come all the priests and thus we have what is often referred to as the ‘Levitical Priesthood.’ In addition we have in our Bible the book of Leviticus which means – “matters of the Levites.”

In 70 AD, God did something very significant in the life of the nation of Israel. God allowed the Romans to march into Jerusalem and to destroy the city. Among the things they destroyed was the great Jewish Temple. As one resource states – “The temple’s sad end slammed the door on the Jew’s sacrificial system.” [1] With the destruction of the Temple came the dissolving of the Jewish priesthood.

Tragic as all of this may sound, it was a part of God’s plan. Scripture teaches us that there was a need for the priesthood of the Levites to end and a new priesthood to begin through the Lord Jesus Christ. Why is this so important? During the rest of this week’s study I will give you three reasons why this was necessary?

Reason 1 – The Need of a Better Sacrifice

Though many Jews did all they could to follow the Law of Moses and to offer all of the sacrifices and offerings, the Bible says – “For the law made nothing perfect…” (Hebrews 7:19) According to Romans 3:20, the Law can never make us right; it can only show us where we are wrong. According to Romans 8:3, the problem with the Law lies not in the Law itself, but in man’s inability to obey it.

In addition to man’s inability to obey the Law, we see also the inability of animals sacrifices to take away our sins.

Hebrews 10:1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? 3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. ESV

Why is the blood of bulls and goats unable to save us? For one thing, animals are animals and men are men. Secondly, animals have no righteousness to offer to God as a just payment for our disobedience. The animal sacrifices of the Old Testament were as much symbolic as Communion and water baptism are today. They only pointed to the one true offering and sacrifice. We read also from the book of Hebrews –

Hebrews 10:5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. ESV

Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the Jewish high priest would enter into the holy of holies and sprinkle the blood of a sacrificial animal on what was called the Mercy Seat. It is interesting to note that the word ‘atonement’ means – {covering}. The blood of the physical lamb provided a temporary covering until the blood of God’s Lamb came to take the sin away forever.

[1] Christian History.net

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