The Old Testament sacrifices teach us a great deal

The Old Testament sacrifices teach us a great deal

Have you ever read the descriptions of Old Testament sacrifices and found them very odd? After all, most of us don’t have much experience of sacrifices, never having even seen one. They seem like some kind of relic of an ancient past completely disconnected from our present-day world. In fact, they seem barbaric and bloody to our modern experience disconnected from farming and where death is kept at arm’s length from us.

It is right to feel the barbarity of the sacrifices. Don’t ignore them or turn away; here we see a great illustration of what Jesus came to do.

Think about it. When someone came to bring a sacrifice, they brought an animal to the priest at the temple. The priest then killed the animal in front of them. This animal was a substitute for the person bringing it for sacrifice. As the offeror watched their precious animal killed and burnt, they were supposed to think, “that is what I deserved, but for the grace of God the animal received it instead of me”. God prescribed the sacrificial system to show His people the seriousness of their sin and what it took to pay for it.

That helps us a great deal when it comes to understanding Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for us. Just like with the Old Testament animal sacrifices, Jesus’ sacrifice was costly, substitutionary, and an atonement for our sins. This sacrifice cost the price of the life of God himself. This sacrifice was done in our place, for Jesus died for the sins of all who believe. And this sacrifice was an atonement for sins, sufficient to pay for the sins of the whole world.

We should never flippantly get used to the fact that Jesus died for our sins. Sacrifice was a serious matter, and the sacrifice of the Son of God even more so. As we reflect on this, we should be amazed once more at the grace of God. God provided a way for us to be saved when we could not be saved. All we can do is watch in wonder and think, “that is what I deserved, but for the grace of God Jesus received it instead of me”. That is incredible, and something we should never get used to or take for granted.