Today’s reading: I Chronicles 6-7; John 8:21-36
49 But Aaron and his sons made offerings on the altar of burnt offering and on the altar of incense for all the work of the Most Holy Place, and to make atonement for Israel, according to all that Moses the servant of God had commanded. I Chronicles 6:49
23 He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” John 8:23-24
Ever since the nation of Israel was constituted with the Law of Moses, the priesthood had been established with the system of sacrifices for atonement for sin as the central element. It was such a significant part of the religious culture of the nation that one tribe, the Levites, were ordained to tend to the matters surrounding worship and sacrifices. One family within the tribe of Levi, the descendents of Aaron, were eligible for the priesthood.
The sacrificial system was established to show the heinousness of sin and the need for atonement, an offering to God for offenses made against Him. But when Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, came who would be the One to bear the sins of His people, there was caution, skepticism, rejection, and hostility heaped on Him. As we see throughout the Gospel of John, His origin was debated. His words were parsed and doubted. His explanations were questioned and re-questioned. The evidence of His authenticity was dismissed.
Now He plainly tells them that they will die in their sins if they do not believe in Him. His whole purpose in life is to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1: 21). He is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Faith in Him is a matter of life and death.
Yet many refused to see. The problem of sin has existed since the Fall of Man. God has presented His Son to be the atonement. Is it not plain? Is it not clear? Why persist in unbelief? Why remain blind? The old saying is true, “There is none so blind as him who will not see.” If you are troubled by your unbelief, call to Him for faith and the ability to repent. If you see, give Him praise for His great mercy to you.