Jesus, the perfect sacrifice

A number of years ago I attended a weekend Discipleship Course at the High Barbuchany Christian Centre, Scotland, where God used one of the speakers, David Antrobus, to set me free from a feeling of unworthiness before God. The following is taken from David’s talk and was a real revelation to me.

‘Only the innocent can pay the price for the guilty!’

To begin an understanding of what this means we first of all have to go to the very beginning of the Bible, to the book of Genesis.

In chapter 3 we see Adam and Eve living in the paradise of the garden. There is no sin in the world and God Himself would come and walk with them in the cool of the day. Not only did they have direct access to God, they had access to everything else in the garden, all except the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil,

‘for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die’ God had told them (2:17).

Satan appeared as a serpent and tempted the woman saying, ‘For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil’. Gen. 3:5

Well, they both ate the fruit and their eyes were opened to the knowledge of good and evil. They became no longer acceptable to God.Verse 21 says, 

‘Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skin, and clothed them’Gen. 3:21 

This meant that something had to die – probably an innocent lamb. God killed it to clothe Adam and Eve, to make them acceptable. From that time onwards there was a process of continual sacrifice of the innocent to pay the price for the guilty.

God gave specific instructions to the people regarding the sacrifices and we will look at these right now

The Book of Exodus describes the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, only after God had sent many plagues because Pharaoh refused to let the people go free. Chapter 12 describes the ‘Passover’ when God is about to send the angel of death to Egypt to take every firstborn son in the land. How could the firstborn sons of Israel escape? Verse 5 tells us that they were to take a first year lamb without defect from the sheep or goats, they were to kill this perfect lamb without blemish and put the blood on the sides and tops of the door frames of the houses. By doing this, the angel of death ‘passed over’ those houses and they were safe. The innocent lamb had paid the price!

Leviticus 22 tells how the Israelites should worship God, and the proper way to make sacrifices.  

‘You shall offer at your own will a male without blemish …. Leviticus 22:19 

‘But whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer: for it shall not be acceptable for you.’  Leviticus 22:20

‘And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering to the Lord’ Leviticus 23:12 

It is quite clear from these instructions that the sacrifice must be perfect to be accepted. Deuteronomy 15 gives further instructions regarding sacrificing firstborn animals to God. 

‘And if there be any blemish therein, as if it be lame, or blind, or have any ill blemish, thou shall not sacrifice it unto the Lord thou God’ Deut.15:21

You see the whole point is this. If the farmers swapped sheep and offered imperfect animals, then the sacrifice was not acceptable to the Lord on their behalf, and their sin would remain. You see, some of them were cheating. They were offering lambs that were blind, bruised and lame. They didn’t realise that what made them worthy before God was the ‘quality’ of the sacrifice, not the actions.Likewise, we are worthy before God right now because of the quality of the sacrifice for us, Jesus, the Lamb without blemish or spot.

In Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, the Israelites have once again strayed from God. They are just going through the motions and still wondering why God wasn’t blessing them. God is saying to them ‘where is my honour, you offer defiled food on my altar.’  Malchi 1:6a-8

Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? Neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand’. Malachi 1:10

‘But ye have profaned it.’  Malachi 1:12.

Again, you see, the people were offering sick and diseased animals.

‘But cursed be the deceiver which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing …’  Malachi 1:14 

There then followed 400 years of oblivion for Israel when God virtually doesn’t speak to them at all.But God so loves us and He had a plan to save us. Since man wouldn’t sacrifice that what was right and perfect, God sent His one and only Son, to be the perfect sacrifice for us. 

‘The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.’ John 1:29

Hallelujah! He takes away my sin! He takes away your sin!

Meditate on this and understand it. My standing with God (your standing with God) is not dependent on my (your) life but on the quality of the sacrifice, Jesus, the Lamb without blemish.

‘Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold …. But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.’ 1 Peter 1:18-19

God offered His own Son, perfect and without spot or blemish. What a sacrifice!  

But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. Hebrews 9:11-12

The sacrifice of Jesus was so pure that it only had to be done once and the whole world was cleansed forever. Hallelujah!

What is God saying to us? Well if you have truly surrendered your life to Jesus and you’ve repented of your sins – you’ve been washed, cleansed and forgiven – and made worthy by the blood of the Lamb. If you feel unworthy don’t kid yourself that it is humility. If you feel unworthy, what you are saying is that the quality of the sacrifice is not worthy. Remember Jesus can cleanse ALL people, everywhere of ALL sin. This revelation should set us free. There is no greater sacrifice, of quality, than Jesus, given by the Father. 

‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life’. John 3:16

We are free! Our worthiness cost a great price, but we are worthy – we have been made worthy by the blood of Jesus.

WE ARE WORTHY!

Never let anyone tell you otherwise! (especially Satan, the great deceiver). Where do we go from here? Well, we have an opportunity to put things right.

‘I beseech you therefore bretheren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.’ Romans 12:1

Jesus has washed us, cleansed us and set us free and therefore, we are now acceptable sacrifices ourselves!

‘And do not be conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ Romans 12:2

This is not a popular message and most people don’t want to or won’t hear it.

Do you hear it?

Israel gave God what was blemished, they did not give Him their best. 

Do we give the best of ourselves to God?

Remember that it is because of the quality of the sacrifice on our behalf that we are forgiven – we are set free, and we are worthy before God.

I want to finish with Ephesians 5:27 where the ‘church’ presented it to Himself – ‘without spot or blemish’.

‘That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any other such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.’   Ephesians 5:27

 WOW! When Jesus comes back the ‘church’ will be like this ‘without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish…’ – the church of Jesus Christ not the organised, manmade, religious, lame excuses for many of the churches we see in the world today.

‘And beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.’ Revelation 5:11-12

There seems to be quite a party going on here doesn’t there? I want to be there! the question for you is this. Will you be part of it? Will you be there? I hope so!

Responses

  1. Thank you. I used much of this for my 3-4 sunday school class. I’m teaching on Mark 14:51-72.


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