Blood Poured Out

by Ryan Mark Richardson

Leviticus 6:24-30

“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the sin offering. In the place where the burnt offering is killed shall the sin offering be killed before the Lord; it is the most holy. The priest who offers it for sin shall eat it. In a holy place it shall be eaten, in the court of the tent of meeting. Whatever touches its flesh shall be holy, and when any of its blood is splashed on a garment, you shall wash that on which it was splashed in a holy place. And the earthenware vessel in which it is boiled shall be broken. But if it is boiled in a bronze vessel, that shall be scoured and rinsed in water. Every male among the priests may eat of it; it is most holy. But no sin offering shall be eaten from which any blood is brought into the tent of meeting to make atonement in the Holy Place; it shall be burned with fire.”

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Leviticus. It is a book we… I… skip too often. Probably would still do so if it weren’t for certain leaders in my life studying it right now. I read 1-6 this morning and it shocks me a bit. It shocks me because the first six chapters are almost entirely about offerings, offerings of worship, of sin, of guilt. It strikes me as a little bizarre that we should skip a book that obviously has so many allusions to the cross and the Great Offering in it.

The first few chapters deal with burnt offerings, offerings of sacrifice of the men and women of Israel to God. An act of worship in its very nature. An act that says that, though this animal (or grain in some cases) is the first and finest of what I have, I offer it to You, my God, because You are worthy, and all I have is Yours. It progresses into guilt offerings that are made to atone for wrongs commited. And now we have sin offerings. Offerings that deal not only with acts, but deal with the very heart of why man is broken and fallen.

And no longer is the offering made just to God, but we are invited… or rather commanded… to come and dine. To partake of the flesh and blood. By Jesus’ shed blood and offering of His life we are made into a Holy Priesthood (try reading Hebrews) and as such the role of priest is passed to us. We are called to eat of its flesh, to be washed in its purifying blood.

I suppose at this point it would be a little redundant to suggest that we look at this offering as Jesus, but at the place of worship (the other burnt offerings)… of the ultimate worship, not just out of sacrifice of His possessions, but out of His very life… a sin offering was made before God, and God has declared that offering holy. And we are called to come before God and partake of that offering. To dine and touch His flesh, to let His blood shower us, and to wash in a Holy Place.

The result: a very short line, but very powerful all the same: “Whatever touches its flesh shall be holy.” An end that we could never accomplish. An end that only God can. If it is on our end, how possibly can us saying that we killed a bull… much less a man, perfect in every way… makes us holy. That is arrogance. That is idiocy and foolishness. But if it is on God’s omnipotent hands, on His just, merciful and gracious Self. He, the Great Judge, has the power to look at that perfect man and see a sin He had never carried, but a sin that was ours, and punish that and pardon us. What was once foolishness, confounds the wisdom of men.

And now that the Blood has splashed on us? We are called to wash in a holy place before God… how akin to baptism. And the vessel that now contains the blood? It is to be broken, poured out. A Blood not to be contained, but poured out for the world. The veil was ripped at the cross, and God sent forth His Spirit. No longer confined at a tent of meeting, but in the world testifying of the cross.

Blood no longer contained, but poured out for the entire world, and a Holy Spirit among us testifying of Jesus’ holy sacrifice.

Truly it must be said that God is Immanuel… God. With. Us.

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Funny how a book written back in the days of Moses can testify of the cross, of communion, and baptism a reality that wouldn’t come to pass for many entire eras of that nation’s future.

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