I'm reading through the Old Testament. And It's a bloodbath.
Entire nations are being destroyed left and right, people are dying of plagues and disasters, armies fight for power, and the Children of Israel are called to sacrifice their animals. Every. Day.
I won't lie- it was a struggle to get through Leviticus and Numbers and Deuteronomy. There were so many details and so many specifics in the Law that I couldn't help but skim over the long-winded books of the Pentateuch.
And even while my mind got distracted easily, there was one thing in particular that hit me. The whole time I was reading all the bloody, gory details of all the offerings that the Israelites were required to bring to the Tabernacle, I couldn't stop thinking to myself, "I am so thankful I was not an Israelite back then." I couldn't do it. I sin too much to keep track of it all. I sin too much to be able to remember all the guilt offerings and sin offerings and peace offerings and tithe offerings I would have to bring before God.
There were so many conditions for these sacrifices, it boggles my mind. From the type of animal to its gender to its quality to the details for its slaughter to the location of its death to the instructions for its dismemberment and its burning and its distribution.... it's insane. It's impossible.
Part of what makes us human is our addiction to sin. And thinking over how mandatory the sacrifices of the Old Testament were, I can't help but stand in awe at the magnitude of Christ's sacrifice. Seeing how much it took to atone for the sins of just one nation, I can't help but stand, speechless, and overwhelmed by my Lord, who paid for the sins of the world.
Just try, for a moment, to grapple with how perfect Christ must have been. At one time, an animal's neck had to be slit and its body burned on an altar for a people group to be spared by the wrath of God. And here we are, thousands of years later with billions of sinful, wretched people walking all over the globe- and we need not offer sacrifices any longer.
How perfect Jesus must have been!
It was a one-time sacrifice. It was a slaughter that covered all sins, past, present, and future. I don't know about you, but I can't handle my own sin. My guilt sometimes weighs me down more heavily than anything. I can't face my problems. I hide away in shame over the things I've done. Now, if all the sins of my friends were also piled on top of me, there's no doubt I would be paralyzed with guilt and remorse. The burden would be too much to bear. Now, if the sins of every living person on this planet was inflicted on me, I would die. There is no question about it. I would be killed. The sheer magnitude of so much wrongness and evil is too much to bear for one person.
And yet, the Perfect Lamb of God took every sin of every person who had ever lived, and who ever would live. And His blood was enough! His death was sufficient. One man's body was pure enough to be the final sacrifice. His gift for us bought us redemption. Salvation. It repaired the separation between us, and the Most Holy God.
1 John 2:2 - "He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins--and not only our sins but the sins of all the world."
Jesus. The real MVP. He gives His life, and it turns out to be more than enough for every sin that could ever be committed in the entire course of human history. What a guy, hey?
I really feel like the apathy that we often have towards Jesus is sickening. We call ourselves Christians. We bear His name. And even then, I see so many of us shying away from even saying His name. The word "Jesus" has become a term equated with Sunday School and Veggietales and extremely right-winged conservatives. It's become a word that we are sometimes embarrassed of, depending on who we're talking to.
But what I've also noticed is our unabashed boldness when it comes to talking about our favourite actors. Favourite bands. Favourite singers. Favourite teams. Favourite athletes. It doesn't matter who we're talking to- we let them know who we're cheering for. It doesn't matter if they disapprove or mock us, we're still proud of our team/band/star. There's no fear. We say their name no matter where we are, and we can't be bothered with the reactions of those around us.
My question is, why aren't we like that when it comes to Jesus Christ? When we're safely sitting in Bible Study, sure, we'll admit that He is our goal. That we are aspiring to be like Him. That we want to be His ambassadors. That we want to take His Love to the ends of the earth. But then, we are too afraid to be seen as His disciples when we step out into public! What is that?
I can tell you what it's not... it's not Christianity. It's not the church. It's just a generic concept that we avoid unless we are directly asked. It's a feel-good idea that we go along with until it gets a little too awkward to identify with. But it's not Christianity. And it's not what God intended for His Church.
When the body is ashamed of the head, you can expect a dysfunctional mission team. It's time for us to get real about who we say we believe in, and why we believed Him in the first place! I want to come to place where I get shivers down my spine every time I hear the name of my Saviour spoken. I want to be in a place where I can't help but grin when I hear about how God is moving in this world. I want to be in a place where I can boast in Christ alone, and take pride when people suspect my faith by my lifestyle.
And by all means, I want to cheer louder for Jesus than for any sports team. I want to be the music fanatic, the movie geek, and the sports freak, but all for the story of my Father's sacrifice. The only difference between us as Christians and the obnoxiously loud hockey-loving neighbors should be who we're cheering for, and the material of our jerseys.
Because while theirs is made of fabric and stitching, the jerseys of the Lord's ambassadors are made out of love, joy, compassion, and the good works that prove our faith.