Old Testament reading: Leviticus 4-6
Leviticus 4 begins with the law of sin and trespass offerings. Of interest to me is the statement repeated throughout, that if a man sins unintentionally or in ignorance, it does not diminish his guilt (cf 4:27). The same rule applied to the congregation as whole (4:13). Also, every sin offering was to be killed at the hand of the man who brought it, not by the priests. I expect this requirement helped to bring the price of sin closer to home. It is one thing to being animal and leave it with the priest to kill, but it is quite another to “get your hands dirty” in the process. We would do well to remember it is our own personal sins that put Jesus to death, and not just the nebulous “everyone’s sins” that allows us to lose ourselves (and our guilt and shame) among the masses. Also of interest to me is the command that the fire for the altar of sacrifice was never to be extinguished (6:13). This may provide us with a couple of pictures. First, the continual fire may represent God’s ever present desire and willingness to forgive. Second, we are reminded that sin knows neither boundaries nor times nor seasons. As with Cain, sin is always at the door.
New Testament reading: John 1-3
John’s gospel account is unique among the four in many respects, not the least of which is his commencement with Jesus from the Creation (1:1-3). It is generally understood that John’s gospel, unlike the other three, had no particular audience, but was rather given to all men to show that Jesus was a Divine being from before the Creation. Not just the Son or offspring of God, but as existing eternally from before the foundation of the world (1:1-2). John identifies Jesus as the Creator of all things (John 1:3). John the apostle also bore witness to the declarations of John the Baptizer, who said of Jesus, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me’” (1:15). Chapter 1 is only the beginning of an entire book of witness to the Deity of Jesus, as John closed his account that these words “are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (20:31).