Choosing to share an oldie, but a goodie one more time!
The other lamb you are to offer at dusk; do with it as with the morning grain and drink offerings – it will be a pleasing aroma, an offering made to ADONAI by fire. Exodus 29:41 CJB
As I begin my journey in this place, I’m starting with the beginning. It appears in the Torah, an instruction to Israel. I choose to begin with this verse because of its significance as a command, the framework it gives for the fragrant offering that is pleasing to the LORD, and its probable connection to Good Friday. You’ll see what I mean.
What I did not know until this weekend’s teaching at my church was that Israel, particularly in Jerusalem at the Temple, sacrificed two lambs each day, every day (Exodus 29:38). Can you imagine that?
Daily. Morning and evening. A trumpet would sound. A bleating lamb. A bleeding lamb.
Crackling flames consuming the sacrifice.
A pleasing aroma is confusing for me in this moment. Maybe it is to you, too. I want to say, “But, LORD, the smell of the sacrifice—how can that be pleasing to you?” I live so many generations and ages and cultures away from this; I have no understanding of the sacrifice, the scents and sounds, or why an innocent lamb had to die. So many innocent lambs, God…
The simplified answer is that sin against a holy God must be paid for, atoned for (Leviticus 4). In God’s grace, during every generation, he provided a way to satisfy the requirement for the offense. For many generations young, perfect animals were slaughtered for the altar of sacrifice. It was the Covenant of the Law made in Moses’ day. I’ve come to understand only so much. Hebrews 9:22 says,
In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. NIV
God has chosen the payment for offenses. The offender does not choose his penalty. A holy, perfectly just God set the penalty (Romans 6:23). Death is what we deserve for our myriad of sins against him. Through the shedding of blood every offensive thing is reconciled.
I could sit with that, but I mentioned there is a connection between the introductory verse and Good Friday. I’d hate to leave that part out!
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “”Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? “”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Mark 15:34 NIV
Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:28-30 NIV
Jesus died at the ninth hour, which would be 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Sources indicate priests sacrificed second lamb at that time each day, every day.
The trumpet sounded. A bleating lamb. The bleeding Lamb. Death.
Fragrant grace, pleasing to God.
*In all fairness, this information was new to me, and was shared through teaching I received. Click here for the link. My own “leg work” was required for this post to a limited extent.