February 24: The Day of AtonementSeries: Devotional
February 24: The Day of Atonement
Leviticus 15–16; John 9:1–12; Song of Solomon 7:5–9
When it comes to the cost of sin, the average person probably thinks in terms of “What can I get away with?” rather than “What does this cost me and other people emotionally?” These calculations aren’t made in terms of life and death, but that is literally the case when it comes to sin.
The Day of Atonement is a beautiful, though horrific, illustration of this. It takes three innocent animals to deal with the people’s sin: one to purify the high priest and his family, one to be a sin offering to God that purifies the place where He symbolically dwelt (the holy of holies), and one to be sent into the wilderness to remove the people’s transgressions (Lev 16:11, 15–16, 21–22).
After the blood of the first two animals is spilled on the Day of Atonement—demonstrating the purification of God’s people—the final goat demonstrates God’s desire to completely rid the people of their sin. “Aaron shall place his two hands on the living goat’s head, and he shall confess over it all the Israelites’ iniquities and all their transgressions for all their sins, and he shall put them on the goat’s head, and he shall send it away into the desert” (Lev 16:21).
The Day of Atonement symbolized God’s desire for His people: one day, sin would no longer stand between God and His children. Like the goat, Jesus lifts the people’s iniquities (Isa 53:12). He fulfills this prophecy, becoming the ultimate ransom; no other sacrifice is ever needed.
As the author of Hebrews says, “For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.” (Heb 7:28). He then goes onto say, “Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God…” (Heb 10:11–12).
The price of sin may be great, but Christ has paid that price.
In what ways do you take Jesus’ sacrifice for granted? What can you do differently?