One of the most difficult things for me on my recent mission trip to Bulgaria was the language. I am typically fairly good at languages, and when I go on mission trips I can usually speak some of the language by the time I get home. But this time in Bulgaria I wasn’t as successful — I’m afraid some of it may be age! — but I also think also some of it is that they have a different alphabet. They use the Cyrillic alphabet, in which some of the letters are the same as ours, some of the letters are the same as ours but mean something different, and some of the letters are different altogether. And I just never did get the hang of it. I was so relieved when we went to Philippi and I could read the signs, because they were in Greek!
So the alphabet is so important. That’s one of the first things our kids, and our grand kids, had to learn, to be able to read. The letters of the alphabet are the building blocks of reading, and all the big words and concepts in our language won’t make any sense to us until we learn the basic concepts of those A-B-C’s first.
As we come to Leviticus in our Old Testament reading, I know that a lot of people get “bogged down” in this book, reading about all the sacrifices and the laws of uncleanness. (By the way, that’s one reason why I’m glad we do the three different readings each day; if you have a difficult one like we did in Leviticus today, you still have a Psalm and Mark to get some more accessible spiritual “food” from for the day!).
But what we find here in Leviticus IS important, because here God was giving His people the building blocks; the “A-B-C’s” of faith. Before the people would be ready to hear the message of a Messiah who died for their sins, they first had to learn the “A-B-C’s” of theological language: they had to learn about sin, and sacrifice, and forgiveness. Once they had learned that, then later when Jesus came later and John the Baptist said “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,” people knew what sin was, and the forgiveness that the sacrifice of a lamb can bring. So in Leviticus God gave His people the “spiritual A-B-C’s”, that would help us understand what Jesus would later bring us when He came.
So this morning as we prepare to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, let’s look back at some of these “A-B-C’s” in Leviticus, and see what it teaches us about the sacrifice Jesus made, that brings about the forgiveness of our sins and satisfies God.