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 reflection on the seventh chapter (specifically 7:11-38).
“And the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving shall be eaten on the day of his offering.”Leviticus 7:15a
It was no ordinary day in the house of Levi. Many visitors had come to eat and drink with him, people from all kinds of different backgrounds. But the most special guest of them all was none other than Jesus of Nazareth. Not only was he the famous preacher everyone was talking about, earlier that day he had personally asked Levi to follow him, to join him as one of his disciples. Being a tax collector, and therefore a Roman traitor to many of his fellow Jews, Levi had never even imagined that a famous Jewish preacher like Jesus would have thought so highly of him. And yet here he was – eating and drinking with him.
Not everyone was pleased about this. Some of the local religious leaders and teachers were appalled at the fact that a famous preacher like Jesus would eat and drink with tax collectors and other wicked people. Jesus’s response to them was devastating: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)
The gracious gift of God coming amongst us and eating with us was precisely what made peace offerings so glorious. Not only could the priests eat a portion of the sacrifice, but ordinary Israelites could do as well. Through the sacrifice of the peace offering, God came and ate with ordinary sinners, just like you and me. This was to demonstrate the universal love of God, a God who feeds and nourishes his children.