THE GIFT OF CHRIST HIMSELF, AN OFFERING, A SACRIFICE
Do you know that smell is one of the senses that can trigger a particular memory? It’s weird, but I still remember the smell of our new plastic telephones in our home in the late 1960s. Can you remember your grandmother’s perfume? Or how about the smell of leather at the saddle shop? The famous “new car smell?” The scent of a certain flower? A visit to a different country? I can tell you from personal experience that Mumbai, India, in late June, has a distinctly different smell than the mountains of Switzerland in the springtime.
What is the most pleasant fragrance you’ve ever smelled?
One year at Bibletimes Marketplace, our children’s summer Bible school event, one of the workshop leaders talked about the fragrance of the burnt offerings offered by the Old Testament priests. To recreate the event, he took some seasonings popular in the Middle East, like cumin and paprika, mixed in some rosemary plants and rose petals, and threw them in a fire. What a beautiful and amazing aroma it was! The Bible suggests that such fragrant offerings were pleasing to God.
Today’s gift is the gift of Christ Himself, an offering.
“Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:2, NIV).
Paul writes that Christ loved us so much that He gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
It’s hard for most of us to get our heads around the sacrifice of Jesus, God’s Son, and that such an offering pleased God. Pause and think about that for a second.
There are two things to ponder here as it relates to the sacrifice of Jesus. The first is that a true sacrifice is offered by oneself. In the Old Testament, Leviticus, Chapter 1 has certain rules about offering a sacrifice. The first is this: when a man offered bulls or birds, Leviticus says he did the actual killing himself. And then, he gave the slain animal to the priest. There is a reason for that. You must offer your sacrifice to identify with the killing of life.
The second rule from Leviticus relates to sacrifice: the one making the offering is to skin the animal and give the meat to the priest to burn, but the skin is offered to the priest to keep as a robe. This is so significant! Think about how God had to kill and skin an animal to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness in Genesis, Chapter 3, to cover their sinfulness. In the same way, the offering, the sacrifice of Christ, clothes us in righteousness. God doesn’t see our sins when He looks at us. He sees the righteousness of Jesus, clothing us in a garment of praise with a beautiful aroma pleasing to the Lord, our God.
So this gift of Christ Himself — an offering, a sacrifice — is, indeed, the greatest of all gifts.
Receive this gift today — the gift of our Lord Jesus!
Father God, I give my heart to Jesus today! Thank you for this wonderful gift. Thank you for the sacrifice He gave to clothe me in His righteousness. May my life give off the sweet aroma of the love of Jesus to everyone I meet today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This advent devotional can be found on the YouVersion Bible App here.