Bloody Mess

Finished | Devotion #4: Bloody Mess
Roger Allen | Recovery Director

Close your eyes and imagine if you will, the altar in Solomon’s temple. It was made of bronze, twenty cubits by twenty cubits by ten cubits high. The altar was massive.  It was a place where the priest could offer the sacrifice for the people. From the voluntary sacrifices (burnt, grain, and peace) to the mandatory sacrifices (sin and trespass), the priests were busy atoning for the sins of the people. On this day, they were dedicating the temple to the Lord. Imagine now the smells, sights, and sounds of the day as Solomon offers a sacrifice. We read in 2 Chronicles 7:5, “King Solomon offered as a sacrifice 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. So the king and all the people dedicated the house of God.”

The sacrifice was so large that Solomon did not use the altar for the burnt, grain, or the fat of the peace offering, “And Solomon consecrated the middle of the court that was before the house of the Lord, for there he offered the burnt offering and the fat of the peace offerings, because the bronze altar Solomon had made could not hold the burnt offering and the grain offering and the fat” (2 Chronicles 7:7). If your imagination works like mine, you will soon realize the enormity of what is taking place. There were thousands of people and animals moving to their destination. As a friend of mine said about the size of the sacrifice, “It was a bloody mess.” 

The Mosaic Law had strict rules that had to be followed. It ranged from the type of animal, grain, or wine that was to be used, to what part of the animal that was retained and what was burnt. In fact, the Mosaic Law contained 613 mitzvahs (commandments) in which they found atonement, worship, the sinfulness of man, and the holiness of God. Try as they may, the Hebrews could not overcome their condemnation through the law.

Fast forward almost a thousand years. As news of the Messiah reached the crowds in Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin conspired against Jesus. It was the week of Passover. Riding in on a donkey as people put their cloaks and palm fronds at His feet, Jesus fulfilled the prophesy, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9). 

As the next few days passed, the people who had praised Him would turn and despise Him. Cheerful hosannas quickly turned to shouts of “Crucify Him!” Utterly disillusioned, the crowd turned on their Messiah when they realized that He did not fit their idea of “The Savior.” 

Isaiah 53:3 says, “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Destined to be crucified, Jesus shared His last meal with those who had been with Him these past three years. As He retired to the Garden of Gethsemane with them, He prayed to the Father, “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will’” (Matthew 26:39).

These are just a few of the prophesies that Jesus fulfilled. Through Old Testament prophecy, to the New Testament fulfillment, we see that Jesus was the unblemished lamb of God. Realizing we cannot save ourselves, Christ’s full atonement for our sins allows us to have a relationship with the Father. That happened through His absolute obedience to the Father’s will; He presents us sinless. “Tetelestai” (It Is Finished).

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