Dear Cornerstone brothers and sisters,
Happy early 4th of July! Let me encourage along two lines as we prepare to celebrate our nation’s freedom this holiday weekend. First, may we be thankful for the freedoms we enjoy each day – in particular the freedom to gather week over week to worship our Lord and King. But second, may we remember our dear brothers and sisters around the world who do not have such freedoms. Millions of our Christian brothers and sisters gather to worship in fear of persecution and even death! May we learn and be convicted by their courage and faithfulness!
Remember that SUNDAY, JULY 14th we will worshiping in our new location, the Kids R Kids on Hwy 6 and Forest Trails (behind the Walgreens). Be in prayer for this move, and take this opportunity to invite your friends, neighbors, etc. We will have a church fellowship meal following worship.
Finally, this week’s devotion is a reflection from the book of Leviticus on the cross of Christ!
From the Pastor’s Desk
“The Great Yom Kippur”
Lev 16:3, “But in this way Aaron shall come into the Holy Place.”
The book of Leviticus often remains a mystery to many Christians with its myriad of laws, rituals, and restrictions. The confusion, however, can be cleared up when it is read in its redemptive-historical context of pointing us to Christ. Leviticus 16 is a good case in point. Leviticus 16 describes the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. This was the most important day of the year for Old Testament Jews – it was the climax of their religious year. For on this day, the high priest entered into the holy of holies – before the very presence of God (Ex 25:10-22; 26:33-34) – to offer sacrifices to make atonement for the sins of the nation. This scene drives home many important truths for God’s people. For example, the holiness of God is highlighted by the cloud of incense in vv. 12-13; and the depth of our sin is highlighted by the three-fold description of our sin in vv. 16, 21 (‘uncleanness, transgressions, sins’ in v. 16 & ‘iniquities, transgressions, sins’ in v. 21). Ultimately, however, we must see this ritual – this Yom Kippur – pointing forward to the Great Yom Kippur – the day on which the Lord Jesus Christ shed his blood on Calvary’s cross.
Although the Day of Atonement teaches us important truths about the holiness of God, the depth of our sin, and the need for atonement, there were also limitations to this day. Let me mention two such limitations. First, the High Priest Aaron had to atone first for his own sins before he could offer the sacrifices for the people (v. 11). Second, this ritual was to be repeated year after year after year, indicating that something greater is needed to actually cleanse us from our sin – something else was needed to ‘truly’ take away the sins of the people (Heb 10:4). And that something else was a perfect sacrifice, a sacrifice who was both God and man. Oh brothers and sisters, how it should drive us to our knees to reflect upon how this day finds its fulfillment in Christ! Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29) – his blood cleanses us from all our sin (1 John 1:7). He is both the offerer and the offering – both the high priest and the sacrifice!! He brings the sacrifice, and the sacrifice that he brings is himself! Hebrews 7:27 tells us, “He [Jesus] has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself” (cf. Heb 9:11-14; 10:1-4, 11-12).
Leviticus 16 points us forward to the cross – where the son of God gave himself for us (Gal 2:20). Dear friends, over this long holiday weekend, may we stand in awe and wonder at the perfect lamb of God who shed his blood to wash us clean – whiter than snow (Isaiah 1:18)! “What can wash away my sin, nothing but the blood of Jesus!”
Have a wonderful holiday weekend,