February 21: Grace among the Graphic
Leviticus 9–11; John 7:53–8:11; Song of Solomon 6:6–10
“Then he slaughtered the burnt offering, and Aaron’s sons brought the blood to him, and he sprinkled it on the altar all around; and they brought the burnt offering to him by its pieces, as well as the head, and he burned them on the altar” (Lev 9:12–13). There are graphic scenes like this throughout the Bible, especially in Leviticus. But they act as a reminder of what sacrifice looks like and what it really means.
Even though Jesus would ultimately make the greatest sacrifice of all—laying down His life for the sins of others—He did not hold people’s sins against them. Although Jesus understood that He would be brutalized like the animals sacrificed during Aaron’s day, He chose to forgive people. When a woman “caught in adultery” was brought before Jesus, He did not sentence her to death, as was demanded by the Jewish authorities and laws of His time. Instead, He said, “The one of you without sin, let him throw the first stone at her!” (John 8:7). And Jesus says the same to us today. Only those without sin can throw a stone or cast judgment on others—and that’s none of us.
We shouldn’t use this as an excuse, though. We shouldn’t say, “What happens between you and God and between you and others is up to you.” Instead, we must call each other forward to follow Christ. Jesus has forgiven us, but this doesn’t excuse our sins. Similarly, we can’t use Jesus’ graciousness as an excuse to continue sinning.
We must remember grace and offer that grace to one another. Indeed, we must not judge, but we must not excuse sin in the process. In being gracious both to ourselves and others, we must remember why we have the ability to do so: Jesus died the brutal death of a sacrifice. It was His body that was torn apart and His flesh that was flung. (It’s just as harsh as it sounds.)
I don’t say any of this to make us feel guilty, but to remind all of us of the price Jesus paid for our freedom.
Jesus died so that we could be one with God, not so that we could continue to sin against the God He unified us with. As Jesus says at the end of this scene, after everyone had left, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more” (John 8:11).
In what ways are you misappropriating grace?
JOHN D. BARRY
- And in the eighth day Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the Elders of Israel: Then he said unto Aaron, Take thee a young calf for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering, both without blemish, and bring them before the Lord. And unto the children of Israel thou shalt speak, saying, Take ye an he goat for a sin offering, and a calf, and a lamb, both of a year old, without blemish for a burnt offering: Also a bullock, and a ram for peace offerings, to offer before the Lord, and a meat offering mingled with oil: for today the Lrod will appear unto you. Then they brought that which Moses commanded before the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and all the assembly drew near, and stood before the Lord. (For Moses had said, This is the thing, which the Lord commanded that ye should do, and the glory of the Lord shall appear unto you.) Then Moses said unto Aaron, Draw near to the Altar, and offer thy sin offering, and thy burnt offering, and make an atonement for thee and for the people: offer also the offering of the people, and make an atonement for them, as the Lord hath commanded. Aaron therefore went unto the altar, and killed the calf of the sin offering, he burnt unto the Altar, as the Lord had commanded Moses. The flesh also and the hide he burnt with fire without the host. After, he slew the burnt offering, and Aaron’s sons brought unto him the blood, which he sprinkled round about the Altar. Also they brought the burnt offering unto him with the pieces thereof, and the head, and he burnt them upon the Altar. Likewise he did wash the inwards and the legs, and burnt them upon the burnt offering on the Altar. Then he offered hte people’s offering and took a goat, which was the sin offeirng for the people, and slew it: and offered it for sin, as the first: So he offered the burnt offring, and prepared it, according to the manner. He presented also the meat offering, and filled his hand thereof, and beside the burnt sacrifice the morning he burnt this upon the altar. He slew also the bulllock, and the ram for the peace offerings, that was for the peaople, and Aaron’s sons brought unto him the blood, which he sprinkled upon the Altar round about. With the fat of the bullock, and the ram for the peace offerings, that was for the people, and Aaron’s sons brought unto him the blood, which he sprinkled upon the Altar round about. With the fat of the bullock, and of the ram, the rump, and that which covereth the inwards, and the kidneys, and the caul of the liver. So they laid the fat upon the breasts, and he burnt the fat upn the Altar. But the breasts and the right shoulder Aaron shook to and fro before the Lord, as the Lord had commanded Moses. So Aaron lift up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering of the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings. After, Moses and Aaron went into the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and came out, and blessed the people, and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. And there came a fire out form the Lord, and consumed upon the Altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they gave thanks, and fell on their faces. But Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censor, and put fire therein, and put incense thereupon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. Therefore a fire went out from teh Lord, and devoured them: so they died before the Lord. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the Lord spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come near me, and before all the people I will be glorified: but Aaron held his peace. And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan the sons of Uzziel, the uncle of Aaron, and sai dunto them, Come near, carry your brethren from before the Sanctuary out of the host. Then they went, and carried them in their coats out of the host. Then they went, and carried them in their coats out of the host, as Moses had commanded. After, Moses said unto Aaron and unto Eleazar, and Ithamar his osns, Uncover not your heads, neither rent your clothes, lest ye die, and lest wrath come uon all the people: but let your brethren, all the house of Israel bewail the burning which the Lord hath kindled. And go not ye out from the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation lest ye die: for the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you: and they did according to Moses’ commandment. And the Lord spake unto Aaron, saying, Thou shalt not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye come into the Tabernacle of the Congregation, lest ye die: this is an ordinance forever throughout your generations, That ye may put difference between the holy and the unholy, and between the clean and the unclean, And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord hath commanded them by the hand of Moses. Then Moses said unto Aaron and unto Eleazar and to Ithamar his sons that were left, Take the meat offering that remaineth of the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and eat it without leaven beside the altar: for it is most holy: And ye shall eat it in the holy place, because it is thy duty and thy son’s duty of the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and eat it without leaven beside the altar: for it is most holy: And ye shall eat it in the holy place, because it is thy duty and thy son’s duty of the offerings of the Lrod made by fire: for so I am commanded. Also the shaken breast and the [heave] shoulder shall ye eat in a clean place: thou, and thy sons, and thy daughters with thee: for they are given as thy duty and thy son’s duty, of the peace offerings of the children of Israel. The heave shoulder, and the shaken breast shall they bring with the offerings made by fire of the fat, and shake it to and fro before the Lord, and it shall be thine and thy sons with thee by a law forever, as the Lord hath commanded. And Moses sought the goat that was offered for sin, and lo, it was burnt; therefore he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar the sons of Aaron, which were left alive, saying, Wherefore have ye not eaten the sin offering in the holy place, seeing it is most Holy? and God hath given it to you, to bear iniquity of the Congregation, to make an atonement for them before the Lord. Behold, the blood if it was not brought within the holy place: ye should have eaten it in the holy place, as I commanded. And Aaron said unto Moses, Behold, this day have they offered their sin offering, and their burnt offering before the Lord, and such things as thou knowest are come unto me? If I had eaten the sin offering today, should it have been accepted in the sight of the Lrod? So when moses heard it, he was content. After the Lord spake to Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say, These are the beasts which ye shall eat, among all the feasts that are on the earth. Whatsoever parteth th ehoof, andis cloven footed, an dcheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall e eat: But of the that chew the cud, or divide the hoof only, of them ye shall not eat: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, and divideth not hte hoof, he shall be unclean unto you. Likewise the coney, because he cheweth the cud, and divideth not the hoof, he shall be unclean to you. Also the hare, because he cheweth not the cud, he shall be unclean to you. Also the hare, because he cheweth the cud, and divideth not the hoof, he shall be unclean to you. And the swine, because he parteth the hoof, and is cloven footed, but cheweth not the cud, he shall be unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcass shall ye not touch: for they shall be unclean to you. These shall ye eat, of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, or in the rivers, them shall ye eat. But all that have not fins nor scales in the seas, or in the rivers, of all that moveth in the waters, and of all living things that are in the waters, they shall be an abominaiton unto you. They, I say, shall be an abomination to you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, but shall abhor their carcass. Whatsoever hath not fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be abomination unto you. These shall ye have also in abomination among the fowls, they shall not be eaten, for they are an abomination, the eagle, and the goshawk, and the osprey: Also the vulture, and the kite after his kind, Also the ravens after their kind: The ostrich also, and the night crow, and the seamew, and the hawk after his kind. The little owl also, and the cormorant, and the great owl: Also the redshank, and the pelican, and the swan: The stork also, the heron after his kind, and the lapwing and the [bat]: Also every fowl that creepeth and goeth upon all four, such shall be an abomination unto you. Yet these shall ye eat: of every fowl that creepeth, and goeth upon all four which have their feet and legs all of one to leap withal upon the earth. Of them ye shall eat these, the grashopper after his kind, and the solean after his kind, the hargol after his kind and the hagab after his kind. But all other fowls that creep and goeth upon all four, such shall be an abomination unto you. Yet these shall ye eat: of every fowl that creepeth, and goeth upon all four which have their feet and legs all of one to leap withal upon the earth. Of them ye shalll eat these, the grasshopper after his kind, and the solean after his kind the hargol after his kind, and the hagab after his kind. But all other fowls that creep and have four feet, they shall be an abomination unto you. For by such ye shall be polluted: whosoever toucheth the carcass, shall be unclean unto the evening. Whosoever also beareth of their carcass, shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until even. Every beast that hath claws divided, and is not cloven footed, nor cheweth the cud, such shall be unclean unto you: everyone that toucheth them, shall be unclean. And whatsoever goeth upon his paws among all manner beasts that goeth on all four, such shall be unclean unto you: who so doth touch their carcass shall be unclean until the even. And he that beareth their carcass, shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: for such shall be unclean unto you. Also these shall be unclean to you among the things that creep and move upon the earth, the weasel, and the mouse, and the frog, after his kind: Also the rat, and the lizard, and the chameleon, and the stellio, and the mole. These shall be unclean to you among all that creep: whosoever doth touch them when they be dead, shall be unclean until the even. Also whatsoever any of the dead carcasses of them doth fall upon, shall be unclean, whether it be vessel of wood, or raiment, or skin, or sack: whatsoever vessel it be that is occupied, it shall be put in the water as unclean until the even, and so be purified. But every earthen vessel, wherein any of them falleth, whatsoever is within it shall be unclean, and ye shall break it. All meat also that shall be eaten, if any such water come upon it, shall be unclean: and all drink that shall be drunk in all such vessels shall be unclean. And everything that their carcass fall upon, shall be unclean: the furnace or the pot shall be broken: for they are unclean,and shall be unclean unto you. Yet the fountains and wells where there is plenty of water shall be clean: but that which toucheth their carcasses, shall be unclean. And if there fall of the dead carcass upon any seed, which useth to be sown, it shall be unclean. But if any water be poured upon the seed, and there fall of the dead carcass thereon, it shall be unclean unto you. If also any beast, whereof ye may eat, die, he that toucheth the carcass thereof, shall be unclean until the even. And he that eateth of the carcass of it, shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: he also that beareth the carcass of it, shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: he also that beareth the carcass of it, shall be unclean until the even. And he that eateth ofthe carcass of it, shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: he also that beareth the carcass of it, shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even. Every creeping thing therefore that creeeth upon the earth, shall be an abomination, and not be eaten. Whatsoever goeth upon the breast, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or that hath many feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, ye shall not eat of them, neither defile yourselves thereby: ye shall not eat of them, for they shall be abomination. Ye shall not pollute yourselves with anything that creepeth, enither make yourselves unclean with them, neither defile yourselves thereby ;ye shall not, I say, be defiled by them. For I am the Lord your God: be sanctified therfore, and be holy, for I am holy, and defile not yourselves with any creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I am teh Lord that brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God, and that you should be holy, for I am holy. This is the law of beasts, and of fowls, and of every living thing that moveth in the waters, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth: That there may be a difference between the unclean and clean, and between the beast that may be eaten, and the beast that ought not to be eaten.. Leviticus 9–11
- kkk. John 7:53–8:11
- . Song of Solomon 6:6–10