In all honesty, many times when we come across these themes in the Bible we see them as out-of-date, old fashioned, sometimes maybe barbaric even. But the truth is when we peel back some of the language, context, and understanding they can become beautiful and freeing.
Because even though today we don’t offer animal sacrifices that were offered in the Hebrew Bible, we still are caught up in some of the same cycles. We struggle with cycles of sin and seeking atonement or forgiveness. We might not use sacrifices of animals to find peace or atonement but we do use other sacrifices: prayer, confession, trying harder, making promises, and all sorts of things. But often these sacrifices still leave us locked in a cycle we can’t break out of: fail and sin, feel shame, guilt, confess and sacrifice somehow, and repeat.
We might not regularly sacrifice animals to find forgiveness but it is something we need. We need a new way to live, not stuck in cycles of sin, self-righteousness, or shame. And that’s what we are looking at on Sunday. And it won’t come as a surprise how we find that freedom and forgiveness: it’s in Jesus.
So that’s where we’re headed but before we get there, why not do a bit of reading and prepping on your own. Read Hebrews 8, 9, and 10: that’s where we will be really focusing on Sunday. And then why not spend some time thinking if there are any cycles you need freedom from. Is there a sense of guilt that lingers, a sin that keeps creeping in, or a hurt that lasts? And if so, come Sunday we are going to find how Jesus changes all of that.