The Substitute (Leviticus 3)

            “You shall lay your hand…”

            I read a story about a little boy that was giving blood to be used in his brother’s surgery. As the nurse drained his blood, he remained stoic and quiet, but when she was finished with the transfusion, he asked her:

            “When do I die?”

            In his innocent mind, he was giving not only his blood, but his life to save his brother.  He had become a substitute!

            When the Israelites brought their peace offerings to God, they were required to place their hand over the animal’s head.  This was a symbolic act that represented the “transfer” of their own sins and guilt to their sacrifice.  The animal being offered would become a substitute for the repentant sinners and then die on the altar.

            How sad is to think that an innocent beast was sacrificed for the sin of a human being!  Even more tragic (but necessary) was the crucifixion of Jesus, who died for us, even though he was blameless and pure.  He was and is our one and only Substitute.

            If the blood of animals was unable to forgive sins (Heb. 10:4); then why did they have to be slaughtered and burned?  Those poor sheep and bulls were sacrificed because they were used as substitutes for sinners and as a symbol of the ultimate sacrifice of our Savior.

            One day, in the future, there would appear a Perfect Lamb that would die for the sins of the world “once and for all” (Hebrews 9:12, 26).  Thanks be to God for Jesus, our Substitute!

             A. G.

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