Sunday, September 28, 2014

To Be Common - Part I

In the book of Leviticus one can in the vast list of instructions look over some gems hidden in between the stanzas of rote teaching. In the rhythm of the book in the pauses in the corners of that smooth and flawless room, lie clues that tell of another future time when the God-Man would walk the earth for all of us crushed under the weight of what lies in Leviticus. 

Let me give you one here.

In the beginning chapters of the book, there are specific instructions regarding offerings: sin, grain, wave, peace, guilt and so on. But looking a little deeper into one, perhaps the most important one and to one I am most familiar, I find something unexpected. I cannot imagine the scene in that time. The blood and the horror of the last breath of innocent animals slain and then burned in the holy fire is too much for the modern man where such things are far removed… and so the sense of the gravity over the sins we commit. I wonder if we had to go with an animal lay our hands upon its head and take part in its slaying if we would feel differently about the things we do we know are wrong. I believe we would. In the time of Leviticus, there was no other option. It was crude and vile and the last screams of the innocent animal perhaps carried on the shoulders of the one offering  it could only lend regret and a grievance. The cold fact is something had to stand in the place and be the payment to turn back the wrath of God against them. You see, it was a bloody and terror filled place. It was a place where man was reminded of the darkness of his own heart and reminded that God was ever just.  It was a place where the deception of the heart was rendered powerless and one stood in the cold light of reality. The stench of burnt hair and flesh and the blood and … oh my, the blood was everywhere. It saturated the ground and matted the dust in to a foul smelling paste. It was where sin, the real character of sin was in plain sight. All that one could do is bow and be thankful that penalty was paid; at least until the next sin.

This is how it was and we would do well to remember the heinousness of it. It was the result of listening to thoughts, appetites, impulses and sensations that result in the evil fruit of death.

What caught my eye when reading the various instructions was the sin offering of a common person. With the dignitaries it was a bull but with the lowly it was a…lamb. I am reminded of the passage when John the Baptist sees his kin walking toward him to be baptized.

“Behold the Lamb of God” John 1:36.

I was stunned. We see the Jesus in the movie, we see Him in a romantic way and shy away from the black afternoon He was born to spend alone. Combining these two pictures: the sacrifice of the common man and the afternoon on Golgotha, we will find  corollaries: There is the innocent, there is the guilty, there is the lone sacrifice, there is the pain, there is the horror and…there is the blood. 

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