TBH, as my daughter’s middle school friend say, it’s been a while since I dug down deep into the Old Testament (OT). Since writing the Bible study on Zechariah a few years ago, I’ve had my head down in the books of the New Testament (NT). Consequently, this journey from beginning to end in the Bible for 2015 has already been quite a journey. Especially during this time of year (Easter and Lent) my focus is usually on the Gospel’s and Christ’s journey to the cross. So, it’s been very unusual to be the in books of Leviticus, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua. But, God has open my eyes and heart to a deeper appreciation for a Savior who took my place on the cross through the reminder of what things looked like for those who lived and worshipped before Christ’s amazing sacrifice on the cross.
As I approached this text, I was quickly reminded of how many rules, rules, rules God’s first followers had to keep track of and monitor. Honestly, I might have been able to remember and follow it all if I had my iPhone 😉 ringing with constant reminders, but those stone tablets and memory were all they had to keep track of the 613 commandments/law (also called the “Torah” or “Law of Moses”). Honestly, we can hardly handle the 10 commandments. Can you imagine 613?
Many of us are familiar with the guidelines from Leviticus 11 on what to eat and not eat, but did you know they had guidelines (and go into GREAT detail) on how to deal with scabs, burns, hair loss, and even mildew outbreaks (Leviticus 13 & 14). This is just the beginning. As you can imagine, there are many other rules listed for things related to sacrifices, sex, semen, pregnancy, etc. too. I’ll let you dive into some of the others on your own. It boils down to this, God revealed Himself to Moses to present a covenant to His people. “Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.” Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” Exodus 24
God offered His people a covenant of protection, provision and prosperity IF they obeyed His commands as they set out towards the land He promised them.
My point this Easter is this ~ not only did Jesus come and die on a criminal’s cross to cover all of our sins, He came to be the ultimate sacrifice and a new beginning for His people. As he sat with the disciples to have the Last Supper Jesus expressed, “This cup is the new covenant written in my blood, blood poured out for you.” Luke 22:20
Jesus was the final and ultimate sacrifice. The blood He shed was the beginning of a NEW covenant between God and His people. Don’t get me wrong, we still have important guidelines and laws to follow as Christians (10 Commandments, Exodus 20), but God sent His son to wipe away the old covenant that was focused on rules, laws and commands. Christ’s death signified a new covenant between God and His children. One not based on the letter of law, but of the Holy Spirit. A Spirit full of grace, unconditional love and a desire for a personal relationship with each of us.
He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:6
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-44
I pray you will look at Easter in a whole new way this year too. May our eyes be ever on the cross and our hearts always seeking our Lord and Savior. A very happy and blessed Easter to all of you.