Have you ever read the book of Leviticus? All those “offerings” (burnt offering, sin offering, trespass offering, etc.) sound bloody and cold. Even though there are several names for these different offerings, they all boil down to “sin”…that ugly archaic 3-letter word that has no place in a modern society. Or if it does it should be like the Scarlet Letter, attached to garb worn by murderers and child molesters and senior citizen embezzlers. I look pretty good in comparison…no need for blood splattered on me, thank you very much.
But then again.
Thanks to the miracle of Facebook technology, I recently came across an old friend from eons ago. A past existence. He was a mere teen then, but his life was already being stripped and scarred by the devastation of his circumstances. Just like Paul said in Romans 8:22, his life already groaned under the weight of sin. That was then. Now…a train wreck. Rubbled ruins. Tragedy.
Reading (in one sitting) this man’s posts over the course of several months, the truth dawned on me. Not like a sunbeam, fresh and white and beautiful, but terrible like a gleaming dagger whose blade has caught the pale light of a blood moon. Sin is not some choice only the wicked have embraced. Sin is a cancer that eats ALL bone and flesh. My old friend has it…a good man caught in the grips of something distorting and sad. I want to say I have no part in his beleaguered story, but maybe I do, the way the past played out. Surely I do in the sense that this cancer is present at birth. A defect passed through the spiritual DNA. A legacy I do not want but which followed me through the birth canal nevertheless. I cannot escape it (more accurately, I have not escaped it), and neither can or have or will you.
What is the remedy to sin? Atonement, the old-fashioned kind. The blood of a lamb. Moses understood this when God explained to him what all those sin offerings were for (the instructions of which Moses so carefully inscribed in Leviticus). John the Baptist understood this when he looked at Jesus – God’s Messiah – and proclaimed, “Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, begins at sunset this coming Friday. A day I respect as the foreshadowing of the once-and-for-all sacrifice Jesus would make for me—to cleanse me of sin and rid me of the cancer that eats me alive.
You don’t have to be Jewish to take part in God’s great Day of Atonement, which we Christians claim as Good Friday, the day Christ died to take away the sins of the world. Just come before the living Lamb of God at the altar of your heart, bow your head and confess your sin, so that He can cleanse you and make you whole.
See you at the altar.