Saturday, March 1, 2014

Leviticus 16

Today's reading in our daily plan is Leviticus 16. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • We saw in chapter four that people were to make a sin offering if they became aware of their sin. But what about sin people remained unaware of? These were taken care of on the annual Day of Atonement. The details of this day and the sacrifices that were to be made are laid out in this chapter.
  • One of the differences from the sin offering (see chapter four) is that the offerings of the Day of Atonement included goats. Two male goats were used. One was for the sin offering (killed, blood sprinkled in the Most Holy Place, body burned outside the camp) and the other became the "scapegoat" (sent away alive, symbolically bearing the sins of the nation, signifying the removal of the people's sin and guilt).
  • In the New Testament, a comparison is made between the goats of the Day of Atonement and Jesus, in Hebrews 13:11-14, "The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come."

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Jesus sacrificed himself, and his sacrifice was sufficient for all time, this is why a Day of Atonement is no longer necessary (see Hebrews 10:1-18).
  • In the passage in Hebrews 11 we're told "Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore." The idea is that if we're going to follow Jesus, sometimes we'll bear some disgrace. People may persecute us. Friends or family may disown us. But we need to be willing for that to happen. As Jesus said, in Luke 9:23, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me."

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Who are the people, or what are the situations, that can make you feel kind of like the goat that was sent out bearing shame? Especially in regard to following Jesus -- are there people who make you feel less than because of it? Are there situations where it's really difficult to be faithful to Jesus because of the way other people make you feel? Why is it worth it to stay true to Jesus, even when people make you feel bad? And what can help you have the strength to stay true when it's difficult?