(Leviticus 1, John 20; Optional Psalm 64, Proverbs 16:16-19)
Click the following link to see every day’s through-the-Bible readings and reflections. Once there, you can sign up on my “FREE daily email” page and get daily reminders in your inbox: www.2Tim3v16.wordpress.com
A bit of a different emphasis in what I’m writing… I’ve averaged 3 hours each day putting these posts together, and I’m not keeping correct priorities in the rest of my life. My son pointed out (thanks, Chris 😊) that I’m basically writing my own study Bible. But there are already some excellent study Bibles written, and that’s NOT my calling, so… I’m going to write down a main thought or two from each reading. We’re getting into a section in the OT where many grind to a halt in their through-the-Bible readings. Don’t get caught up in every detail or question that you have. There will be PLENTY that’s quite clear and that’s where you should focus and keep reading, so that you’re hearing from EVERY WORD of God (2 Tim 3:16 – my blog title; Matt 4:4). I do recommend that you invest in a good study Bible or two or three to have available when you get to a section that gives you huge questions, but don’t get overly bogged down. The best commentary on God’s inspired Word is OTHER parts of God’s inspired Word, so keep reading. You can see some of my favorite resources here: https://2tim3v16.wordpress.com/reading-plan-tools/
One I left off (although I’m going to edit the resources page and highlight it) that I’ve leaned on much preparing these daily posts is my favorite OVERVIEW tool – Gospel Transformation Bible: English Standard Version. They do NOT handle every detail you’ll have a question about, but keep showing how the OT points to Jesus and will help keep the big picture clear.
Remember to pray as you start each day that God would highlight something about Himself in your reading and then show you specifically how that revelation of who He is should shape your thinking and actions. As we keep reading His words, may we grow to love, trust, worship and obey Him (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) more!
LEVITICUS 1 – Titled Leviticus, because it’s all about the priests from the tribe of Levi and their duties, etc. A lot of people grind to a halt in their Bible reading in Leviticus, because they get mired in all the details. But it jumps right into heavy stuff – chapter 1 is so bloody, it should grab our attention. Why so much blood in the OT? The answer is powerfully summarized (and tied to how it points to Jesus) in Heb 9:22-27. Our local Veteran’s Hospital had a powerful sign reminding visitors that “Freedom isn’t free.” Leviticus 1 (and John 19 that we’ve just read) remind us “Atonement isn’t free.” The word atonement is a key word in Leviticus, building to the Day of Atonement in Lev 16 (the video I linked to yesterday is REALLY helpful). It’s more complicated than this, but the very word is helpful: “at-one-ment”. An important part of atonement involves reconciliation – bringing two estranged parties together (“at-one”).
All the details aren’t fully clear until Jesus came, but something like this would happen when an OT believer sacrificed or witnessed the priests sacrificing… They knew that the blood of animals wasn’t enough, so they had to KEEP sacrificing (until Jesus cried “It is FINISHED”). But they knew that this somehow tied in to the very first sacrifice God Himself made to cover the very first sin in Gen 3. And God promised in Gen 3:15 that He would one day send a human (born of the seed of woman – possible hint of virgin birth) that would deliver the mortal wound to Satan and would decisively handle our sin problem. Until then, lots of animal blood would flow. Every sacrifice was a reminder of the deadliness of sin and the awesome grace of God who provides a way for sinful humans to be at one with Him!
JOHN 20 – Jesus is Risen! And appears all over Jerusalem in His glorified body (but with His wounds still visible – all through Revelation He’s worshipped as “the Lamb who was slain”), giving evidence that although His body is glorified, He’s still the same Jesus they knew that had given His life on the cross. Just as He’d told them (and the Scriptures had told them – they just hadn’t seen it before)!
Jn 20:22-23 – From ESV Study Bible: [“When Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit,” it is best understood as a foretaste of what would happen when the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost (see Acts 2). … The expressions they are forgiven and it is withheld both represent perfect-tense verbs in Greek and could also be translated, “they have been forgiven” and “it has been withheld,” since the perfect gives the sense of completed past action with continuing results in the present. The idea is not that individual Christians or churches have authority on their own to forgive or not forgive people, but rather that as the church proclaims the gospel message of forgiveness of sins in the power of the Holy Spirit (see v. 22), it proclaims that those who believe in Jesus have their sins forgiven, and that those who do not believe in him do not have their sins forgiven—which simply reflects what God in heaven has already done (cf. note on Matt. 16:19).”]
Jn 20:28-31 – Compare Jn 1:1-5, 14-18. Jesus is both God’s Son AND fully God, worthy of our worship and faith. Through John we’ve seen that some believed on SOME level, but Jesus being God in the flesh calls for a complete trusting of our lives to Him!
Optional Psalm 64 – Again, when unjustly attacked, those who belong to God run to Him, and rejoice and exult IN HIM (v 10 – even in the midst of being treated unjustly by people). Notice how different the desperate tone from vs 1 to the triumph of v 10 – this is what happens when we bring our troubles to the Lord!
Optional Proverbs 16:16-19 – v 18 is one of the most sobering verses on pride in the Bible. Being humbled isn’t fun, but is a much safer place to be.