Thursday, February 17, 2011

February 17- The Sin Offering

February 17, 2011
Scripture Readings:
Leviticus 4:1-5:19; Mark 2:13-3:6;
Psalm 36:12; Proverbs 10:1-2
The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one.  
~Oscar Wilde
Leviticus 4:1-5:19
What if I told you that I was a doctor?  You would know that I am a person involved in the healing arts. Perhaps you would think that my days are spent wearing a white coat and diagnosing patients in an examining room. This would be true, but if you really followed me around for a day or traded places with me, you may find that the actual job of a doctor includes many responsibilities you had not considered. If you switched places with me, you may understand the mental and emotional aspects of caring for others.  Today as we read about the sin offering laws commanded by God, we don't see who Christ was, but we see what Christ did. We see what the job of being our sin offering was like.
 Moses is given the laws for sin offerings. There are more verses used in this portion of Leviticus to explain and clarify sin offerings than for any other kind of offering in the Bible.  This shows the importance of the problem of our sin to God. While burnt offerings were voluntary, the sin offerings of were mandatory. God wants everyone to understand the importance of a blood sacrifice to cover sin. It is in the sin offering that we see the work of Christ on the cross. 
As one reads the detailed instructions on how the animal was killed and then how the blood was poured out in front of the altar, the graphic picture of how Christ was poured out for our sin becomes a tangible experience.  The brutality of the death and the bloodiness of the sacrifice was gruesome.  Death is required to cover sin.  Whereas the burnt offerings were burned up at the altar and never left the Temple, the remains of the animal in the sin offering were to be taken outside of the camp to be burned. This is a picture of how a Holy God cannot be in the presence of sin.  This is also a picture of Christ’s separation from God in death as he carried the sin of the world upon himself. Taking the remains of the sin offering outside the camp to be burned was done after the blood was emptied out of the animal, the fat of the organs was burned, and the meat was cooked and consumed.  The consumption of the sin offering pictures the future sacrament of the Lord's Supper.  In this sacrament, we see that we are sustained spiritually by Christ's sacrifice for our sins. 
This passage teaches that various people groups and types of sins were specified to be part of the sin offering.  You may have also noticed that sins of commission and omission were included.  People were required to make a sin offering for sins they did not even know they committed.  This is because as children of Adam, we all have a sin nature (Romans 3:23).
Here are some categories of sins that required a sin offering:
·        For the priests’ sins- a bull was required.  This was the highest category of animal for sacrifice.  As leaders of the people, the priests were held to a higher standard.
·        For the sins of the community- a young bull is presented.
·        For the sins of a leader of Israel- a young male goat was brought (note that male animals are more valuable because they are used as studs in breeding).
·        For the sins of a regular citizen of Israel- a female goat or sheep.  If the citizen was too poor, they were allowed to bring two birds or two quarts of flour.

Whenever anyone realized that they had sinned, they had to come and do a sin offering.  Are you beginning to pick up on the oppression of living under the Law?  Are you beginning to see that we all would be swimming in the blood of endless sin offerings if Christ had not sacrificed once for all?
Here are some of the sins that required a sacrifice:
·        You were called to testify and witness to a crime, but you refused.
·        You touch something unclean, including an unclean animal, an animal that scurries along the ground.
·        You come in contact with any sort of human defilement.
·        You make a rash vow.

Confession was to be part of the sin offering if you were aware of what you had done wrong.
I am exhausted just thinking about trying to participate in this system.  I thank God that I am able to confess my sins confidentially to Christ, knowing that he has covered my sin and removed my sin as far as the East is from the West.  My sin has been taken outside the camp and burned.
Do you even contemplate your sin?  Do you see the work of the blood poured out for you by Christ? 
Mark 2:13-3:6
Jesus is already teaching large crowds when Levi, also known as Matthew, is called to be a disciple.  Matthew is rich, having been a tax collector, so he has no problem inviting Jesus to a nice dinner with all of his friends and colleagues.  The Pharisees are horrified that Jesus would eat with these sinners.  Jesus rebukes them by saying that a physician goes to help the sick, not the healthy.  Jesus says that he has come to save sinners, not those who already think they are good enough.
This ties in nicely with our Leviticus passage today.  The Israelites were given the Law in order to create a situation where they were able to see that they were hopeless sinners.  The Pharisees had somehow missed this lesson.  In their arrogance, the Pharisees were constantly on the lookout for any commandments that Jesus may be breaking.  They challenged him on why his disciples didn’t fast.  Jesus clarifies that the guests don’t fast at the wedding party when the groom is there.  We have already dealt with the marriage picture of Christ and the Church.  Jesus is once again alluding to this sacred relationship.
The Pharisees challenge Jesus and his disciples for picking grain on the Sabbath.  They consider this to be work, which is forbidden on the Sabbath. They are accusing Jesus of sinning.  Technically, a person was allowed to pick grain with their hands.  They were not allowed to use a sickle to harvest grain. Jesus uses this situation to teach that the Sabbath was created for man, not man for the Sabbath.  In other words, Jesus is the Sabbath, and he was created for mankind to provide rest from the Law!! 
Next, we see Jesus in the synagogue on the Sabbath.  The Pharisees are there, also.  A man with a deformed hand comes to Jesus for healing.  Jesus, knowing he is being judged by the Pharisees, challenges them to answer if it is lawful to heal and do good on the Sabbath.  They don’t answer him.  Jesus is angry and deeply disturbed because of these stubborn, self-righteous jerks. Jesus tells the man to reach out his hand.  He then heals him.  The Pharisees, who were the teachers of the Law and religious leaders for the nation of Israel, were a constant source of trouble for Jesus.  Mark records that the Pharisees went off to plot with Herod about how to kill Jesus.
Have you allowed rules and regulations to define your faith?  If so, how?  Have you accepted Jesus as the Lord of the Sabbath?  Are you resting in this reality?
Psalm 36:1-12
Vs. 1 – 5 Deals with the sinfulness of man.
Vs. 6- 12 Deals with the faithfulness of God.
Proverbs 10:1-2
A wise child brings joy to a father; a foolish child brings grief to a mother.
What did you see today?  Please share.
Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton


  1. The OT system made me very weary reading it. Hey, where do you suppose they got flour for bread? Manna? Just wondering.

  2. Yes. Rules, rules, rules. This system was enacted and used before and after they wandered for forty years in the desert. In actuality, the desert was only 30 miles from civilization. Theoretically, they could have purchased flour from the people groups around them. The manna would have been provided because they could not plant crops. I'm not sure, through. Good question!