The Lord called Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When any one of you brings an offering to the Lord, you shall bring your offering of livestock from the herd or from the flock.
“If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish. He shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the Lord. He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. . . And the priest shall burn all of it on the altar, as a burnt offering, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord. Leviticus 1:1-4, 9b ESV
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 ESV
A raging fire was burning the building, and smoke was pouring out of its windows and into the night sky. A firefighter rushed into the building to safe the lives of some people who were trapped. He got them out, but he himself died in the fire. The firefighter gave his life to save others. Firefighters sometimes make the supreme sacrifice by laying down their lives to help other people. In Maryland there is a National Fallen Firefighters Memorial. It was built in 1981 to honor men and women who gave their lives while fighting fires or doing other rescue work. Any time a firefighter in the United States dies in the line of duty, his or her name is added to this memorial.
God taught Moses about several different kinds of sacrifices he wanted the people of Israel to offer. The first one he talked about was the burnt offering. People were to bring an animal that was completely perfect to the tabernacle. This sacrifice was to make the person who offered it acceptable to God. When God accepted people because of their burnt offerings, he would look on them with favor and they would be able to come close to God and worship him. The person who offered the animal would lay his hand on it, and then the priest would kill the animal and completely burn it on the altar.
Like the animal sacrifices that were totally burned in the tabernacle courtyard, and like the firefighters who give their lives in the line of duty, Jesus gave himself completely for us. He was a perfect sacrifice, without any sin. He offered himself for us on the cross to make us acceptable to God. God looks on us with favor and we can come close to him to worship him because of what Jesus did.
Dear Jesus, thank you for offering yourself for us so that we can be accepted by God and come close to him. Amen.