“Honey can you go next door and get some Meyer lemons?”
“No problem.” At my wife’s request, I walked to the backyard of my neighbor, heading straight to his lemon tree. Spying some luscious lemons, I picked several and turned to return home. My neighbor’s wife saw me from her kitchen window and cheerfully waved. Twenty years ago, my neighbor and his wife moved into the house next door at the same time we did. They were both retired and the husband’s passion was gardening. His backyard is a veritable farmer’s market of fresh produce. When we first met, they often brought over fresh Meyer lemons and other fruits and vegetables. One day, his wife came over and said, “You know, anytime you want some fruits or vegetables, you don’t have to ask, just come over and pick them yourself!” So after a few hesitating visits, we did.
We later learned that my neighbor’s love of gardening is well-known in the area where we live. Ironically, before we bought our home, we visited his home that he was selling. In addition to the immaculate condition of his home, we were treated to a tour of his backyard. It was even more impressive than his current backyard. He had cultivated twenty fruit trees and a wide variety of vegetables. To assist any prospective home buyer, he created a detailed map showing the location of each tree and vegetable bush in English and Chinese! The information may not be useful to every homeowner but if one needs such detailed information, it is there, thanks to the thoughtfulness of my neighbor.
This interesting example reminds me of the way the Bible is very detailed in its descriptions of the sacrificial system of worship for the Jews. When I read passages in the book of Leviticus, my mind sometimes glosses over the details: arranging the heads of a sheep or goat on the sacrificial altar, sprinkling the altar with its blood, and then washing the internal organs and legs (Leviticus 1). When will I ever need this information? Why would God give such granular details? The beautiful answer is that it points us to understand the ultimate sacrifice of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ. All of the detailed instructions for sacrifice acted as a tutor for the Jews and for us, to lead us to the understanding and realization that we need much more than animal sacrifices to atone for our sins.
For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Hebrews 10:1-4 (NLT)
We need a Savior. We need Jesus Christ. Jesus instituted a New Covenant, a new agreement between God and man by becoming the actual sacrifice and being crucified on the Cross.
For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.
Hebrews 10:10-12 (NLT)
Like the very detailed map my neighbor left for the fortunate buyer who purchased his home, in the first books of the Bible, God gave us a detailed outline of why the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is central to the redemption of mankind. It is written in the Bible because of the omniscient knowledge and providence of an Almighty God!
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.