Today’s reading: Leviticus 1-10, Psalm 12-13
Perhaps as you began reading the book of Leviticus today, you felt like you were wading through the fine print of a legal contract. Eyes glazed over as you read about all the sacrificial offerings and the meticulous instructions for how they were to be made. “Yada, yada, yada,” you thought to yourself.
What happens here in Leviticus, though, is important to understanding the kind of expectations God had for the people of Israel. They were to set themselves apart from the rest of the world by living holy lives–lives that honored God and showed respect for their fellow human beings. When they failed to do so, they needed to honestly acknowledge their failures. The system of offerings described in today’s reading includes instructions on what they would be required to do in order to make atonement for those failures.
The fine print of Leviticus helps set the stage for us to better understand Jesus’ life and death. In his life, he fulfills the expectations that had been set for the people of Israel. Only he is fully obedient to the will of God. It is only because his life is “without blemish” (remember seeing that phrase a few times today in the instructions for animal sacrifices?), that he can then offer himself as the sacrifice which makes atonement for the sin of the world.