for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. -Matthew 26:28
I can tell, when someone tells me they don't really care for reading in the Old Testament, that they have probably been reading in Leviticus.
Goes something like this: I should read the Bible through, so I start in Genesis and it's pretty smooth sailing, lots of stories about some interesting characters.
Exodus is pretty good too; the plagues, the Red Sea, the Ten Commandments, but then you begin to get bogged down in the minutiae of the construction of the tabernacle and all its furnishings.
Then comes Leviticus. Chapter after chapter of the endless detail and description of the sacrificial system, including precise instruction on the handling and usage of entrails and blood and body parts.
The thing that always (always) strikes me is the sheer number of animals. Why so many? And the blood.
All that blood.
In the film The Passion of the Christ, we see Mary, after Jesus has been flogged, on her hands and knees attempting to wipe up all the blood that has been spilled on the paving stones of the courtyard.
Our hearts break for this mother vainly trying to clean her Son's blood off the ground. And there is so much blood.
Thinking of this, I begin to understand the Books of the Law with their endless repetition and the oceans of blood that were shed under the Old Covenant.
And a little of what God wants me to understand as I wade through all that blood, and experience, to the slightest degree, what the Old Testament believer experienced.
It is this, I think: how could all the blood of all the animals in all the world begin to pay the penalty I owe?
Old Covenant believers were simply looking ahead to a perfect sacrifice; one where the blood shed would atone, once and for all, for every sin, every trespass, every act of rebellion I ever committed.
Blood of the perfect God-man, effective to save to the uttermost, effectual to save each and every one that God has chosen, no matter what the number.
How can it be
that thou, my God,
shouldst die for me?