God is holy and requires a sacrifice for sin.
What is worship? Worship is celebrating the greatness of God.
Rules for Sacrifice
The tabernacle was complete. God now had a place where His glory could dwell without causing the Israelites to fear death. God had given His people laws from the mountain, and He gave them more rules for living and worshiping Him in the tabernacle. These rules are recorded in the Book of Leviticus. The reasoning behind Leviticus can be found in Leviticus 19:2: “Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.”
In Leviticus 17:11, God set apart the blood of a creature as the means for making atonement. This answers the question, “Why did Jesus have to die?” God’s requirement for the forgiveness of sins was the shedding of blood: “According to the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22).
It is important to note a New Testament revelation about the sin offering. Hebrews 10:4 says, “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Then why did God require people to make sacrifices? The institution of a sacrifice was to point to something greater—the ultimate sacrifice God would make by sending His own Son, Jesus Christ, to pay for the sins of the world once and for all. (See Eph. 1:7; Rom 5:9.)
The sacrifices God required of His people were a hint of what God was going to do to forgive sinners. We no longer need to offer sacrifices because we trust in Jesus. Jesus offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice that takes away our sin once and for all.
You and your children may not be familiar with the Book of Leviticus. Use this week as an opportunity to emphasize God’s holiness and His requirement of a blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. Lead them to treasure Jesus as the perfect and final sacrifice “who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
- What could God’s people give to Him as offerings? (Animals or grain, Lev. 1–3)
- What were offerings used for? (Praising God or dealing with sin, Lev. 1–4)
- What purpose did the two goats serve on the Day of Atonement?(One was killed for the people’s sin, the other sent into the wilderness to represent the sin being carried away; Lev. 16)
- Why was the Day of Atonement so important? Guide kids to discuss the Israelites’ need to be made right with God. Talk about their sin and how it separated them from God. Remind them that the Day of Atonement was God’s way of dealing with sin before Jesus came.
- Why don’t we still have a Day of Atonement? Talk about what Jesus accomplished on the cross. Remind them that His death was the one, perfect sacrifice to pay for sin forever. Remind the kids that we no longer need a scapegoat. When we trust in Jesus, He forgives us and removes our sin.
- How are the offerings Christians give similar to the offerings the Israelites gave? How are they different? Guide kids to discuss that Christians can still give resources—money, food, clothing, time, talents, and so forth—as a way to serve the church and glorify God. Discuss the fact that we no longer need to give sin offerings, because Jesus died for our sins.