January 9, 2017
Over break we spent a few days in the Midwest visiting my mom and relatives. Small Midwestern towns tend to be sprinkled with old churches—churches whose cemeteries stretch out from the church yard like an extension of the building and its message within. Each entrance and exit is in the shadow of the eventual future of each individual.
Isaiah 53 is the great prophetic chapter of Jesus’ earthly life and end. It cannot be read without reflecting on the purpose of the incarnation—Jesus came to die as a propitiation for our sins. Now, there’s a word for us—one we don’t use much today.
God didn’t just come to be our friend. He didn’t come to reveal Himself as God. Though those things came to be, Jesus come to be a sacrifice—a sacrifice for all mankind—a propitiation for our sins.
The concept of sacrifice seems so archaic to us in the 21st Century. Ancient cultures practiced it in desire to appease—to propitiate—their gods. Israel, too, brought sacrifices to the temple. Even Joseph and Mary brought a small sacrifice to the temple after Jesus was born.
The great culmination of Jesus’ life was His sacrifice for us—for every sin from Adam right down to the very end of time. God Himself provided the lamb, and it was He.
Perhaps, that’s why peoples have long left the practice of sacrifice: It is no longer needed.
As Jesus proclaimed on the cross: “It is finished,” so every man, woman, and child can now approach God. From this moment, through death, to eternity in Heaven, nothing can separate us from God.
—the parishioner who doesn’t do anything