The gift of Christ himself, an offering, a sacrifice
This Advent Daily Devotional is focusing on the gifts God gives us, as uncovered in the book of Ephesians.
Do you know that “smell” is one of the senses that can trigger a very specific memory? I still remember the smell of our new, plastic telephones in our brand new home in 1967. Can you remember your grandmother’s perfume? Or how about the leather smell of the saddle of your first horse or new car? A certain flower? A visit to a different country? Bombay, India in late June has a different smell than the moutains of Switzerland in the spring time.
What is the most pleasant fragrance you’ve ever smelled?
One year at Bibletimes Marketplace, our children’s summer Bible school event, one of the workshop leaders talked about the fragrance of the burnt offerings by the Old Testament priests. He took some seasonings, popular in the Middle East, like cumin and paprika, and mixed in some rosemary plants and rose petals, and threw it in a fire. What a beautiful and amazing aroma it was! And you can imagine the additional flavor similar to smoked brisket as the carcasses of bulls or rams were offered to the Lord. The Bible suggests that such fragrant offerings were pleasing to the Lord God.
Today’s Gift if the gift of Christ himself.
Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:2)
Paul writes that Christ loved us so much, he gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
It’s hard for most of us to get our hands around the sacrifice of Jesus, God’s son, and that such an offering, a sacrifice, was pleasing to God.
There are two things to think about here as it relates to the sacrifice of Jesus. The first is that a true sacrifice is one that is offered by oneself. In the Old Testament, Leviticus Chapter 1 has certain rules about offering a sacrifice. The first is this: when a man offered bulls or birds, Leviticus says he did the actual killing himself. And then, he gave the slain animal to the priest. There is a reason for that. You must offer your own sacrifice to identify with the killing of life.
The second rule from Leviticus as it relates to sacrifice is that the one making the offering is to skin the animal and give the meat to the priest to burn. But the skin is offered to the priest to keep as a robe. This is so significant! God had to kill and skin an animal to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness in Genesis, Chapter 3… to cover their sinfulness. In the same way, the offering, the sacrifice of Christ, clothes us in righteousness. God doesn’t see our sin when He looks at us, He sees the righteousness of Jesus, clothing us in a garment of praise, with a beautiful aroma, that is pleasing to the Lord our God.
So, this gift of Christ himself, an offering, a sacrifice… is, indeed, the Greatest of All Gifts.
Receive this gift today… the gift of our Lord Jesus!
Father God, I give my heart to Jesus today! Thank you for this most wonderful Gift. Thank you for the sacrifice He gave to clothe me in His righteousness. May my life give off the sweet aroma of the love of Jesus to everyone I meet today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
© 2011. Rich Ronald