Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Messy Rituals

The Old Testament book of Leviticus, the graveyard of many would-be-read-the-Bible-through folks, has some divine instructions for some messy rituals.  One of them is the ritual for the ordination of Aaron and his sons as priests.  It is found in the 8th chapter of Leviticus.  By the time everything is said and done a bull and two rams have been killed and a whole lot of blood has been thrown around.  During the ordination service, Aaron and sons are first washed with water, then anointed with oil, and finally touched with the blood of sacrificial animals.  "Moses took some of its blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron's right ear and the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot."  (Leviticus 8:23)  After Aaron, his sons came for the same blood ordination.  And, finally, Moses dashed the rest of the blood against the sides of the altar.
As we read about other rituals in the Leviticus, we see that the blood of sacrificial animals is used to set apart ordinary things for holy purposes and to make atonement for sins.  While some might get lost in reading these pages filled with ritual, they point us toward the supreme ritual offered by God on a hill called Calvary.  The cross became the altar.  The ram and bull was replaced by the Son.  The blood shed for holy purposes in the new covenant established by God with all of us fulfilled the holy plan of God. 
Like those Old Testaments rituals, the moment of Calvary was messy.  There is no way to contemplate a death like the death of Jesus without it being messy and ugly and horrid to see.  The very Son of God shed His blood on the wooden cross as an offering for our sins.  Through what He willingly did, it became possible for the likes of you and me to once again be at one with God the Father.  God had a plan that He worked out for our sakes on the cross.  Were it not for our sins, none of it would have been necessary.  We should never look and think otherwise. 

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