Christ in the Peace Offering
The peace offering is perhaps the happiest of all the sacrifices.
“What do you mean happy? You’re killing an animal!”
Yes, I do mean happy, and we’ll see why as the lesson goes on.
In order to understand the purpose of the peace offering, we must also go to Lev. 7:11-21, 28-34.
This is an offering of thanksgiving!
This answers the question: what should I do if I want to thank God for His blessings?
This month being November, it seems appropriate to discuss this.
Recall the five sacrifices:
Burnt offering – one of atonement.
Grain offering – one of dedication.
Peace offering – one of thanksgiving.
Sin offering – one of purification.
Trespass offering – one of reparation.
First look at when it was used.
Second how does Christ fulfill this?
When was it used?
What accompanied it.
The burnt offering to bring one closer to God in atonement.
The grain offering to show that your best belongs to Him.
Now the peace offering that gave Him praise and thanksgiving!
The word “thanksgiving” could better be translated as “acknowledgment” or “praise,” – these are offerings of praise!
They were to declare what God has done for them, making this acknowledgment with praise (Psa. 107:22).
The Bible sometimes calls it a sacrifice of praise (Psa. 27:6).
We are familiar with that in Heb. 13:15 (next point).
They were to pay their vows through this kind of sacrifice (Psa. 50:14).
If they did not pay their vows, it would be a sin (Deut. 23:21).
This was the kind of offering that Paul was going to give in Acts 21.
This was given at any time to praise God.
This was meant to be given voluntarily as an acknowledgment of the blessings they had with God.
Wave and heave offerings (7:28-34).
The fat was burned, but the breast was given as a wave offering to the priests.
Wave literally meant you waved it in the air as part of the ritual.
Some scholars believe that the motion was in the shape of a cross.
The right thigh was given as a heave offering eaten by the priests.
There are different ideas as to what a heave offering meant.
Did they literally heave it into the air, or was it simply set aside as a contribution?
Characteristics and Christ’s Fulfillment.
This fed the priests, family, friends, and the poor around them.
This was the only sacrifice that the common people could eat of.
This thanksgiving was a celebration of the blessings that have been provided.
Parts were burned up or given to the priests (later).
The rest was to be shared with everyone.
Notice, there is no sacrifice of birds for the poor here.
Not that the poor having nothing to be thankful for, but they cannot be expected to sacrifice something they don’t have or can’t get.
The more affluent feed the less fortunate in this sacrifice—voluntary!
Certainly, we are to contribute to acts of benevolence!
They gave to everyone who had need in Acts 2 and had a daily distribution by Acts 6.
Paul was encouraged to remember the poor (Gal. 2:10).
James talks about pure and undefiled religion, visiting widows and orphans (James 1:27).
These were not simple remembrances or visitations, but those that offered relief from their burdens.
This was also a sacrifice of praise, also called the fruit of our lips (Heb. 13:15).
As one writer put it: “Celebration of being at peace with God requires the generosity and purity of those who share the common meal.”
These common meals were had by early Christians, too, in what are called “love feasts” (Jude 12).
So our fellowship meal, which they called a love feast, shows how we’ve been blessed when we share food with one another.
Some parts were burned up, given to God.
The fat was considered the best of the animal—burned up.
Another good part was the breast and right thigh—given to the priests.
The wave offering involved here was likely in the shape of a cross, foreshadowing Christ and how He would die.
This showed that God deserves our best.
It also reminds us that a laborer is worthy of his wages (Luke 10:7), that is the priests were rightly compensated for their services.
This was also meant as a freewill offering.
Another way that we sacrifice is through our contribution.
All monetary contributions that we give are a freewill offering to God.
We are told in our contribution to give 1) as we’ve purposed, 2) as we’ve been prospered, and 3) cheerfully not out of necessity.
These sacrifices parallel that of the peace offering.
Any other sacrifice of praise that we give (e.g. prayers, singing) is done by our freewill, too.
We should love Him so much that we can’t help but to pray to Him and sing His praises.
This sacrifice was meant as a celebration of peace with God.
This took the form of praise and thanksgiving.
It was an acknowledgment of the great things He has done for us.
This celebration included everyone nearby enjoying the food provided.
As one commentator put it: “Those who surrender their hearts to God and come before Him on the basis of the shed blood of the sacrifice [in our case Christ] may celebrate being at peace with God.”
And Christ certainly gives us that peace.
We are to possess that peace that surpasses all understanding.
We are characterized as a people being at peace with our soul because we are right with God.
Let us offer our praise to Him at every opportunity!
This can only be done because we have access to the blood of that sacrifice, Christ.
If you have been separated from that blood by your own sin, you have a chance to make that right.
We invite you to have the peace of God this evening—get right tonight!