Reflections on Leviticus 5 (part 2)

Over the next few months, I plan to share some brief reflections on the book of Leviticus. I’m not sure how far through the book I intend to get, but it should be a good exercise regardless. This is a second reflection on the fifth chapter (specifically 5:14 – 6:7).

“And the priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord, and he shall be forgiven for any of the things that one may do and thereby become guilty.”

Leviticus 6:7

One day, early on in the ministry of Jesus, he began to teach the people of Capernaum about the kingdom of God. His teaching was so incredible that more and more people were pouring into the house to hear him speak, until there was no more room for anyone to enter. Suddenly, as Jesus was still speaking, a light appeared above the people’s heads. They looked up, only to see that part of the roof had been removed and that a crippled man was being lowered through the roof on a mattress. 

What was Jesus to make of this interruption? By now the healing ministry of Jesus was famous all over Israel. Much to everyone’s astonishment, he announced to the crippled man: “Son, your sins are forgiven!” The shock wave unleashed by this bold statement reverberated throughout the room. The religious leaders were furious that a man should claim the authority of God to forgive sins. The ordinary people were probably confused, wondering why Jesus hadn’t healed the man instead. 

Jesus did go on to heal the man. But he knew that mankind’s greatest need is not good health, or wealth or any other such things. No, mankind’s greatest need is forgiveness. And Jesus had come as the true lamb of God – the true ram – to bring forgiveness and healing to the lost. Just as the Israelites who sinned brought a ram as a guilt offering, so too is Jesus our guilt offering, the one who makes atonement for us. 

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