These men “lifted up their voices.” Sometimes we need to get loud when we pray. These men were not allowed to come too close to the Lord, so they reached out to Him with their voices. “JESUS! MASTER! HAVE MERCY ON US!” I believe that often the distance that separates us from the answer to our prayers is directly proportional to the amount of “dignity” we have left. How desperate are we for deliverance? How hungry are we for a touch from Jesus? Loud cries from a humble heart are answered more readily than religious prayers from stiff lips!
“A sweet savor unto the Lord” is the hallmark language of the burnt and peace offerings. I believe it is only used one time with regard to the sin offering. When we consecrate our lives to God, when we decide to walk a sanctified walk, it is a well-pleasing aroma to Him. Our life ceases to have the repugnant stench of the unclean about it. Instead, it becomes a perfume He is pleased to inhale.
In the Old Testament system, there was no provision made for intentional and willful sin—none! Oh, I’m sorry. There was one provision made for intentional sin—stoning. The wages of sin is death and death was the only provision made in the Old Covenant for willful disobedience of the commandments of God.
Jesus and the Sadducees were having a little tête-à-tête. Perceiving that they were losing ground before the Master with their hypothetical reasoning, a scribe jumped in to save the day with a bona fide theological question. “What is the first commandment of all?”
Have you ever had a sin that you have confessed and placed under the blood, yet it still plagued your conscience? If you haven’t, I am sure you know someone who has. Though they’ve confessed the sin and placed it under the blood, they can’t shake the guilt. Why is that?
If we offer up the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offering, the Lord will appear unto us in glorious manifestation! If the letter that brought death has such a glorious promise, what will be the result in our lives seeing that we have a much better covenant? Goats, calves, lambs, rams, and bullocks were offered up in the Old Covenant and the glory of the Lord appeared! The blood of Jesus Christ is far superior to the blood of animals. His blood truly cleanses sin, consecrates the saint, and makes possible communion with God.
The leper that was to be cleansed had to bring a log of oil as one of his offerings. It was from this oil that the altar was sprinkled and the leper anointed. The offering became the anointing. Now, if we see in this oil the Holy Spirit, this may seem confusing. How could one “offer up” the Holy Spirit? And having offered it up, how could one then anoint with it? Strange as this might seem, it is exactly what the Lord Jesus did.
After bringing us into covenant with Him by cleansing us with His blood, the Lord leads us to a life of consecration. The longer we walk with the Lord, the more He challenges us to let go of the world. Activities we enjoyed without guilt in the past now become restricted by convictions. But with each conviction followed comes a new liberty to serve the Lord in consecrated holiness.
The devil is a defiler. He tries to distract us from God by calling our identity into question. “If thou be the Son of God,” he said to Jesus in the wilderness. If we take his bait, we disobey God and our conscience becomes defiled. But he couldn’t shake our Lord. Jesus was secure in His identity. He had the word from the Father, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” With full assurance of faith, He countered each of satan’s attacks with “It is written.”
When our own conscience accuses us, worshipping God is not only difficult; it can be downright frightening. Without a means of being cleansed, we are left with only two approaches. We either cry out with Isaiah that we are unclean and undone and stand in jeopardy of death in the face of a holy God or we harden our hearts and allow our conscience to be seared. Our heavenly Father has given us the blood of the Son so that we need not do either. Christ died unto sin once that we might be alive unto God.