Exodus 29:29-30:10; Matthew 26:26-46; Psalms 32:1-7; Proverbs 11:23
OT: “This is what you are to offer regularly on the altar every day: two year-old lambs. In the morning offer one lamb, and at twilight offer the other lamb. With the first lamb offer two quarts of fine flour mixed with one quart of oil from crushed olives, and a drink offering of one quart of wine. You are to offer the second lamb at twilight. Offer a grain offering and a drink offering with it, like the one in the morning, as a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the Lord. This will be a regular burnt offering throughout your generations at the entrance to the tent of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet you to speak with you. I will also meet with the Israelites there, and that place will be consecrated by my glory… I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God. And they will know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, so that I might dwell among them. I am the Lord their God.” (Exodus 29:38-43, 45-46 CSB)
These are the instructions God gave Moses for the daily sacrifice. Every day, for the next 1,400 plus years, this sacrifice would be made both in the morning and the evening. Each morning a lamb would be slain and offered as a sacrifice along with bread (flour mixed with oil) and wine. Why was this done? God gives His ultimate reason – “I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God. And they will know that I am the Lord their God…” For a Holy God to dwell among a sinful people, the sin must be dealt with and atoning for sin is costly.
NT: “As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take and eat it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks, he gave it to them and said, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins…” After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives… Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he told the disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” …He said to them, “I am deeply grieved to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with me.” Going a little farther, he fell facedown and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. He asked Peter, “So, couldn’t you stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, a second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And he came again and found them sleeping, because they could not keep their eyes open. After leaving them, he went away again and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more.” (Matthew 26:26-28, 30, 36, 38-44 CSB)
On the night before the annual Passover lamb was slain, Jesus had an early Passover meal with His disciples. During this meal He said this time, the bread that is broken and offered is My body… and the blood that will be shed is My blood. My life offered and poured out will bring not just atonement for sin, but complete forgiveness of sin. As Jesus awaited the inevitable, He prayed. His response to the disciples gives some insight into what He was going through. “The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak – so pray.” And in Jesus’ prayer, He was basically saying, If there is any other way for sin to be forgiven and mankind reconciled to You, then don’t make me go through this… if man can be saved by any other means, then don’t make me go through this – but if this is the only way, then not My will, but Your will, Father, be done. The ultimate act of worshipful obedience to the Father brought ultimate satisfaction for sin and ultimate reconciliation between mankind and Holy God. Through Jesus’ substitutionary sacrifice The Lord is now able to dwell among those who place faith in Christ and be their God… and His people know and testify and demonstrate that He is the Lord their God.
Psalms: “How joyful is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How joyful is a person whom the Lord does not charge with iniquity and in whose spirit is no deceit! When I kept silent, my bones became brittle from my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was drained as in the summer’s heat. Selah Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not conceal my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah Therefore let everyone who is faithful pray to you immediately. When great floodwaters come, they will not reach him. You are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with joyful shouts of deliverance. Selah” (Psalms 32:1-7 CSB)
Forgiveness is a truly joyful and liberating experience. In Christ, our sin isn’t just covered. It is removed… as far as the east is from the west. How do we receive that forgiveness and maintain that liberty and unfettered relationship with the Lord? Through confession and repentance. Confession and repentance are not bad words – they are wonderful gifts made available to us to stay clean and free and in relationship with Father God. That is why David says here, “Let everyone who is faithful pray to You immediately.” As soon as you are aware of a sin you have committed, bring it out of the shadows into the light and let it go through confession and repentance. As you remain clean and your relationship with the Father remains unhindered, you are able to abide in Him and with Him, joyful, forgiven, protected, and blessed.