Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It Is Finished

Have you ever read the book of Leviticus? If not, I do understand! I've been reading it in the Message for the past long while. (I was hoping that it would be an easier read in that translation; turns out that routines, rituals, and repetition don't really translate differently.)

Every time I settle in to read, I ask God, Why? Why all the rules, rituals? Why all the sacrifices? I mean, how busy poor Aaron must have been!

This morning as I read still more of Leviticus, I wondered as usual. I could see that, in part, God was providing a way to protect the Israelites from infectious disease (skin rashes and being unclean). I could see that God was providing some good hygiene guidelines (bathing after menstruation and such). Yet I still questioned, Lord, in the New Testament we are cautioned against being legalistic, even reprimanded for it, so why did You dictate all these laws?

I was struck by the contrast between those detailed instructions for the Israelites, and the new instructions for the Christ-followers. Polar opposites. How could they appreciate the freedom of the new way without the stark contrast to the old way?

My mind flashed to an image of a priest, dressed in white, leaning over a ram, holding it fast and tight, slashing its throat as a sacrifice. Superimposed with that was a visual of Christ, hanging from the cross at the brink of death, His Father behind Him, arms around Him holding fast and tight. The final sacrifice. The final burnt offering. The last wave offering. The need for atonement offerings complete. It is finished takes on new meaning.

How can we possibly appreciate the freedom of the new way without an understanding of the old way?

My many weeks of Why? answered in an instant. And this weekend we just celebrated the culmination of all those years of sacrifices.

I'm reminded why it's so important to be in the Word, to stay in the Word, and to grow in knowledge of the Word day after day, year after year. Why ancient texts that seem unimportant and boring matter. Why each word is God-breathed. Because it's impossible to ever be done learning.

Have you ever experienced a revelation while reading something in the Bible that seemed so familiar, boring even? If you remember, please share the passage and the revelation.


  1. Revelation 8:4
    "The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand."

    My visual:
    Our prayers are a pleasing fragrance to God. Indeed, just as when we smell, we breath, He also breathes in our prayers. Breath courses through our very being and gives us life. So, our prayers course through God's very being, into every part of Him....in a sense, giving Him life. And then He exhales with His power and might upon our situation/struggle/longing/heart ache. See our mighty and awesome God inhale and exhale upon us. The breath of God upon us.

  2. Oh wow, that's beautiful! The warm breath of God anointing us...


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