But in the sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. ...Now every priest stands day after day ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this man, after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God. He is now waiting until His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified. (Heb. 10:3-4, 11-14)
Today is Good Friday. Last year at this time, Todd Bolen from the BiblePlaces.com blog wrote a post about a video of any animal sacrifice in Jerusalem. He also posted a link to it. It is graphic - the real deal. But the reasoning behind posting it was good.
We read about sacrifice in the Bible but we don't really understand what that means. We read passages that talk about the "life being in the blood," but those are just words that we don't really consider. We "know" that the wages of sin are high, but we don't get the life lesson that the ancient Israelites received every year.
The point of sacrifice was simply this: you deserve to die because of your sin. This animal is dying in your place. Watching the priest slice his throat and watching the blood drain out drove the point home much better than reading a chapter of Leviticus.
Today New Testament believers know that the blood of bulls and goats is not enough to take away sin. But I think that we can often just take for granted Jesus' death in our place. We don't think about his innocent blood draining away because we can't conceptualize it. We don't always appropriate the idea of substitute because we've never seen a living object die in our place. But our loss can be this: sin is easy because forgiveness (we think) is cheap.
Christ's blood, not the blood of bulls and goats, took away our sin. Perhaps this little reminder will help all of us, myself included, count the cost...of discipleship, and of sin.
Todd's final warning is a good one: Don't watch this video while eating, and if you're thinking about showing your children, watch it yourself first.
Update: I wasn't the only one who thought of linking to the video today. Justin Taylor linked to it, and Dan Phillips from Pyromaniacs links to Justin and makes some observations of his own.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible® Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission.