I watched my newsfeed and inbox fill up with pretty Advent devotional possibilities. I have purchased them in the past and will likely do so again another year. But for whatever reason, I started listening through the Bible in the middle of November (a totally logical time to start, thank you), which landed me in Exodus for much of Advent and, of course, Leviticus leading right into Christmas. Perfect.
The thing about Leviticus is that we all let out a huge sigh of relief that we don’t have to uphold those laws and regulations and steps and rituals and sacrifices and blood splattering (so. much. blood.) because, well, Jesus.
And it’s super easy to skip that book, isn’t it? I mean, Jesus did come to abolish the law after all, right? So we don’t really need to read it. It’s gruesome and messy and kind of the worst.
But here’s the thing: they did it. God’s chosen people did their best to maintain the law because it was what God asked of them.
Have we forgotten?
It was so much work and even more sacrifice but it was what was required. Which begs the question: do I do what’s required today, or am I simply relieved that it’s not that?
What we know to be true is that these laws were required to even approach God’s presence.
Being clean and pure in order to find favour with the Lord was a matter of constant introspection, communal reflection and consistent submission. Do we still consider what it is the King of Kings deserves for us to enter His presence?
Because He no longer requires it, because He gives His presence freely and access to His Spirit is offered limitlessly to those who submit to Him, have we forgotten what it means to have such access?
Have I forgotten the holiness of God simply because of the certain access He has offered me through His Son and the gift of the Holy Spirit?
Nearly two thousand years after Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, I think we take the gift of presence for granted.
We do not fear rejection by God or, worse, Him removing Himself from life with us. We certainly do not fear death simply because our humanness prevents perfection. I think we have forgotten the gift of living in the age of the Spirit, with full knowledge of the Son, and full access to the Spirit.
Lessons from Leviticus
So here’s what I’ve learned, knee deep in blood-splattered Leviticus at Christmastime:
- The law was hard and costly. When Jesus abolished it, it was a lot.
- The need for sacrifice was daily. For Jesus’ blood to be enough, that’s a lot.
- Being clean and pure was considered mandatory. Jesus alone, in one divine act of love, made us clean with the same blood that we no longer have to shed for His sake.
- There were sacrifices. All. The. Time. If what Jesus did was enough to never need to make such sacrifices again, what was the weight He bore on the cross? It’s enough to imagine what my own sin convicted Him of. Imagine all of it. All of us.
- Jesus is sufficient. That is all.
Jesus didn’t come to make you wring your hands over what you saddled Him with. He came to free you from it.
Jesus was enough on the day He was born, and at the moment He arrived, an endless alleluia that would change the course of history rang out.
Can you hear it?
It is the song being sung over you this Christmas, and it is a song of freedom. The cost was immeasurable. So is the love with which He bought our freedom.
I dare you to cozy up to the immense nature of His extravagant generosity this week. Give it a minute. Let it overwhelm you. Because that, friends, is really what’s required of you: that you can fully acknowledge The Father’s Son for who He is.
Because He was always enough. And that’s a lot.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christie Penner Worden is the Cross-Regional Kids Pastor at The Meeting House church in Ontario. Other ministry work includes writing for David C. Cook, Ministry Spark, BradG Kids, INCM.org, kids’ ministry curriculum, and international speaking engagements including preaching at summer camps, online events, and breakouts at a number of conferences. This article is reprinted from her blog, with permission.