If I were hungry I would not tell you,
for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats?
Psalm 50:12-13

For the Jewish people, events and ceremonies in which they offered a scapegoat at the altar of the temple of Jerusalem had become a mere ritual that simply took care of a requirement of the law and had lost the meaning for which these acts had been instituted . They thought they were doing God a favor by presenting these sacrifices of blood, as if God were thirsting for it. This perception had infiltrated their midst because of the careless exposure of the Jewish people to idolatrous cults that were part of the everyday life of villages in Israel. The author of Hebrews makes it clear, “the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.”

Now, under the new covenant of grace, shedding the blood of animals is no longer necessary because everything has been replaced by the final and perfect sacrifice of Christ on the cross of Calvary. Now the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit was offered himself unblemished to God, “cleanses our consciences from acts that lead to death,so that we may serve the living God!”  Let us not allow that the acts and reflections that celebrate the memory of that perfect sacrifice become a ritual and a repetitive action for our lives. God does not need us but we do need him a lot. Let our service offering be a pleasant smell that rises unimpeded to the very presence of God. Let us not do it as if God needed it, because he does not need it, but rather let our service be a sign of the deep gratitude we feel for the salvation that we have undeservedly received according to His perfect will and love. To God alone be the glory!


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