Have you ever thought about what it would be like if we still had to sacrifice animals for our sins, today? I thought about that one morning as I read in Leviticus all the sacrificial offerings that were required and how they were to be done. This is how I thought it would play out for me…
I would need a ram, bull or lamb just for my 150 or so sins from yesterday. But, I don’t actually own any. None. I could offer doves instead but I’d have to catch them and I don’t know how to do that. I don’t know a pigeon from a dove. So that wouldn’t work. All I have is my Golden Retriever, Poppie. That would make me so sad to sacrifice her, but she’s all I have in the way of livestock.
Then the grain offering. I have flour, but the flour these days is so GMO tainted and contains way too much gluten. I don’t even eat it any more. How can I offer flour to my God that I don’t even eat? I grow herbs. I could take Rosemary and Oregano which aren’t exactly grains, but maybe they would suffice. Oh, and salt! All sacrifices had to be sprinkled with salt. I’ll bring my salt shaker. Maybe I’ll write some things down that I’ve done that have been pretty good, as bonus points. Okay, I’m ready.
I’d approach the tabernacle with smoke billowing out signifying the Lord’s presence. I’d wait my turn behind all those with the proper livestock and grains. When it’d be my turn, I’d approach and bow down before the smoke holding Poppie close to me, hating that I’d sinned and had to lose my precious dog. My heart pounding, my shoulders tense, tears flooding my face and sweating profusely hoping beyond all hope that my offering would be accepted.
I’d hear a thunderous voice ask why I came.
I’d dare to look up and tell him I had sinned and brought my sin offering. He’d ask what I’d brought.
I’d reply, “Most Holy God, I’ve brought to you my Golden Retriever Poppie, fresh herbs from my garden that have sort of wilted by now, salt, and a list of things I’ve kind of done right. These I offer to you as atonement for my sins.” Poppie’s tail would wag and she’d hang her tongue out in complete ignorance of what was about to happen to her.
“This is to cover your 1,534 sins from yesterday?” The Lord would ask.
Umm. Yikes. I pretty much underestimated that one. I’d stammer in embarrassment and say that all I had was one 7-year-old shaggy Golden Retriever but that she was really sweet and … Then I’d feel a brush of wind pass by me as Jesus would appear. What? He would interrupt my floundering and God’s thinking through the matter.
“Ah Jill, good to see you.” Jesus would say.
Poppie wouldn’t be able to help herself and she’d break free from my grasp and run into the open arms of Jesus as I’d reprimand her “Poppie! Not so quick! Come back here!”
Jesus would kneel down and rub her belly and ears as He’d turn to God and say, “I know this one. This is Jill. She’s covered.”
I’d look at him confused and say, “But I brought my sin offering, which happens to be licking your face right now, my wilted herbs, my shaker of salt and a wrinkled list of things that I’ve done that are pretty nice.” Oh, how pitiful and helpless I would feel.
Jesus would stop petting Poppie and look me straight in the eyes. “Jill, I’ve already paid the price for your sins. Poppie isn’t needed. I took her place. I took your place. The herbs are nice, but I took care of the grain offering as well. My body is the bread. Salt? Done! I am the salt of the earth. I gave it all for you. Every requirement was met on the cross. Your list? Not needed. Good works won’t help you here. My work took care of it all.” Poppie would nudge his hand the way she does, and Jesus would pet her again.
“But for all the 1,534 sins I committed yesterday?”
“Covered on the cross.” Jesus would say. “I covered the 150 you recalled and the 1,384 that you didn’t.”
“All of them?” I would ask, just to make sure.
“The ones you are truly sorry for as well as the ones you didn’t even know you’d committed. Forgiven, gone, forgotten.”
My pounding heart would slow. My shoulders would relax. My tears would dry, and I might even stop perspiring at this point. None of this was needed. What a burden had been lifted! I was free!
I would wrap my arms around Jesus with a heart-felt hug, thank him profusely, collect my dog, and run out of the tent a new person, relieved of all my sins! Free!
As we approach Easter, may we truly keep in mind all our Savior has done for us. Read through Leviticus 1-7 and remind yourself of what was required for unholy people to approach a holy God. Whether bulls, sheep, goats, or grain, the offerings had to be perfect without defects – pictures of the ultimate sacrifice to come in Jesus, the Lamb of God and Bread of Life.
When we accept Jesus as our Savior, as the only One who can bridge that gap for us between our unholy selves and our Holy God, and confess our sins, we are forgiven. No Golden Retrievers, wilted herbs, shakers of salt, or lists required. We just come as we are.