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. BARRYmmm
- 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 wthout blemsih, and brig 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 Lord 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 caommanded 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, which was for himself. And the sons of Aaron brought the blood unto him, and he dipped his finger in the blood, and put it upon the horns of the Altar, and poured the rest of the blood at the foot of the Altar. But the fat and the kidneys, and the caul of the liver of the sin offering, he burnt unto the Altar, to the Lord had commanded Moses. The flesh also and the hide he burnt with fire without the host. Aftr, he slew the burnt offering, and Aaron’s sons brought unto him the blood, which he sprinkeled round about the Altar. Also they brought the burnt offering unto him with the piees thereof, and the head, and he burnt them upon teh Altar. Likewise he did wash the inwards and the legs, and burnt them upon the burnt offeing on the Altar. Then he offered the people’s offering and took a goat, which was the sin offering for the people, and slew it: and offered it for sin, as the first: So he offered the burnt offering, and prepared it, according to the manner. He presented also the meat offering, and filled his hand thereof, and beside the burnt sacrifice of the morning he burnt this upon the altar. He slew also 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 bullock, and the ram for the peace offerings, that was for the people, and Aaron’s sons brought unto thim 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 kindeys, and the caul of the liver. so they laid the fat upn the breasts, and burnt the fat upon the Altar. But the breasts and the right shoulder aron shook to and fro before the Lord, as the Lord had commanded Moses. So Aaron lift up his hand toward the people, and bessed them, and came down from offering of the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offeirngs. After, Moses and Aaron went into the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and came out, and blessed the people, and teh glory of the Lord appeared to al the people. And there came a fire out from teh Lord, and consumed upon the Altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when allt he 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 fir before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. Therefore a fire went out from the Lord, and devoured them:so they died before the Lord. Then Moses said unto Aaron, Thisis it that th Lord spae saying, I will be sanctified in them that come near me, ad 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 said unto 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, as Moses had commanded. After, Moses said unto Aaron and unto Eleazar, and Ithamar his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rent your clothes, lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, all the house of Israel bewail the burning which the Lord had 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 thehly and the unholy, and between the clean and the unclean, And that ye may teach the chldren 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, Tkae the meat offering that remaineth fo 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, beause 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 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: 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, to shae 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 the iniquity of the Congregation, to make an atonement for them before the Lord. Behold, the blood of 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 offeirng, and their burnt offering before the Lord, and such things as thou knowest are come unto me: If I had eaten the sin offering toda, should it have been accepted in the sight of the Lord? 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 beasts that are on the earth. Whatsoever patteth the hoof, and is cloven footed, and cheseth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat: But of them that chew the cut, or divide the hoof only, of them ye shall not eat: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, and divideth not the 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 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 cut, 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 hathfins 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 int he waters, they shall be an abomination 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: The ostrich also, and the night-crow, and the seamew, and the hawk after their kind. The little owl also, the heron after his kind, and the lapwig 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 grasshopper after his kind, and the solean after his ind, the hargol after his kind, and the hagab after his kind. But all other fowls that creep and have four feet, they shall be 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 breast 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 teh 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 fell of the dead carcass thereon, it shall be unclean to you. If also any beast, whereof ye may eat, die, he that toucheth the carcass thereof, shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even. Every creeping thing therefore that creepeth upon the earth, shall be an abomination, and not be eaten. Whatsoever goeth up 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, for they shall be abomination. Ye shall not pollute yourselve with anything that creepeth, neither 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 therefore, and be holy, for I am holy, and defile not yourseles with any creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I am the 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 beat that ought not to be eaten. Leviticus 9–11
- And every man went unto his own house. … And Jesus went unto the mount of Olives, And early in the morning came again into the Temple, and all the people cam eunto him, and he sat down and taught them. Then the Scribes and the Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery, and set her in the midst, And said unto him, Master, we found this woman committing aultery even in the very act. Now Moses in our Law commanded, that such should be stoned: what sayest thou therefore? And this they said to tempt him, that they might have, whereof to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, And while they continued asing him, he lifted himself up, and said unto them, Let him that is among you without sin, cast the first stone at her.And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And when they heard it, being accused by their own conscience, they went out, one by one, beginning at the eldest even to the last: so Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself again, and saw no man, but the woman, he sai unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man conemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said, Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more. John 7:53–8:11
- Thy temples arewithin thy locks as a piece of a pomegranate. There are threescore Queens, an fourscore concubines, and of the damsels without number. But my dove is alone, and my undefiled, she is the only daughter of her mother, and she is dear to her that bare her: the daughters have seen her, and counted her blessed: even the Queens and the concubines, and they have praised her. Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, pure as the sun, terrible as an army with banners! I went down to the garden of nuts, to see the fruits of the valley, to see if the vine budded, and if of my noble people. Song of Solomon 6:6–10