I wonder how the start of reading both Luke and Leviticus has gone for you so far? I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re feeling that the Levitical world of entrails and blood sprinkling is poles apart from what we’ve read of Jesus’ life and ministry so far in Luke. Some of what we read in Leviticus can feel so distant from our Christian faith today, so I’m going to draw some links between Leviticus and Jesus that will hopefully help us in our reading:
- God takes sin really seriously
Leviticus is mostly a series of laws and regulations outlining how the people of God were to live holy lives. If nothing else, this book gives us an idea of how high the bar is set when God calls us to live holy lives and shows how seriously God takes our sin. In Jesus’ ministry we see this attitude to sin as well. He knows that what the paralysed man in chapter 5 needs most is forgiveness from his sins, but more than that, he has the authority to forgive them as well. Therefore, God not only takes sin seriously, but because of Jesus, He has provided the ultimate means by which we can all be cleansed of our sin forever.
2. Jesus is the fulfillment of the law
Jesus did not come to abolish the law. The Pharisees accused Jesus of not living in line with the law in chapters 5 and 6, because they saw it merely as a list of dos and don’ts. Jesus upheld the law (Matthew 5: 17-18), but where the Pharisees saw a list of regulations, Jesus saw the reason behind the law – a call to holiness. In the chapters to follow, Jesus starts to outline radical ways in which we should live out this call to holiness with statements such as ‘turn the other cheek’ and ‘love your enemies’. Ultimately, however, this call to holiness upon our lives can only be fulfilled by Jesus’ death and resurrection, the final sacrifice for our sins.
It is my hope that reading both Leviticus and Luke in tandem will highlight that God takes sin seriously, that we are sinful people desperately in need of cleansing from our sin, but that Jesus has taken away our sin and, because of him, we are now clean.
Some things to ponder:
- How seriously do you take sin in your own life? Do you have a tendency to skip straight to the grace we find in Jesus, rather than deeply considering the ways in which you have turned from God?
- As you read through Leviticus, try to read past the blood and guts and listen out for what God is teaching you about himself.
- As you read through Luke this week, put yourself in the position of one of his followers. How would you react to him and the things he said?