Anyone out there thinking about your gift giving for Christmas yet? Even before Thanksgiving we are deluged in most public places with a Christmas theme. Do you have anyone on your list that is especially difficult to buy for? What makes it difficult? Usually it is because that person doesn’t really need anything.
If a “King” were on your Christmas list, what would you give him? I mean, talk about the man who has EVERYTHING! The conversation might go something like this:
“Ummm-I really don’t have anything to give you again this year.” You say.
“I know, I have everything and you have nothing. “The king answers.
“What am I going to give you then?” You reply.
The one thing you have.” The king says.
“What’s that?” You ask.
“You! Your love, your loyalty, and your commitment. That’s all you have to give. That’s what I want.”
Now that, for any of us would be a SACRIFICE.
In the fourth step of the Biblical covenant-making ceremony, there was a sacrifice between parties. It was the sacrifice of an animal or several animals. The animal must be cut. Normally a heifer would be laid on its back and sliced down the underside of its belly. Its legs would then be folded out. The sacrifice of the animal is why we term this kind of covenant a blood covenant. Every time the blood covenant was made, a sacrifice was needed. Life must be given, and blood must be shed. It represented payment for the sins of the people. This sacrifice meant that there was a CONTRACT- an irrevocable contract between God and humans. God took their sins in return for His relentless love and care.
As we have mentioned in this series, the rituals spoken about are from the “old covenant.” However, the “new covenant” came with Jesus Christ and is poured into our lives as well. They represent the contract agreement between us and the King of all Kings. Jesus, by His choice, became the one who was sacrificed in our covenant –making ceremony.
In Jerusalem at the time of Jesus death, there was a temple where people came to worship. The High Priests of that temple were the only ones allowed to go into the very inner court called the Holy Place. They went into that place to mediate for the sins of the people. A curtain (called a veil) hung in this place separating the Holy place from the most Holy place called the Holy of Holies. History tells us that this curtain was extremely thick and seamless to represent that no common man could enter to mediate for sin.
Matthew 27:50-51 depicts the time Jesus was hanging on the Cross just prior to dying. It says; “Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” When Jesus died, the veil split from top to bottom, recalling imagery for the people of slicing the heifer in the covenant practice. The ripping also symbolizes the tearing of Jesus flesh. No believer was separated from the Holy of Holies any more. No need for a priest to mediate for sin. The ultimate MEDIATOR had come. With the ripping of that veil there became direct access to God. Jesus became the sacrifice…the payment for our sins. The ultimate gift of life forever.
The conversation stated at the beginning might be one that you have with the King of Kings this Christmas. We have nothing of monetary value to give Him who owns it all and has paid it all for us. However, we do have the one thing He longs for.