Communion Message - Part 5
The Trail of Blood – The Peace Offering
September 6, 2009
As we follow the trail of blood instituted by God through the sacrificial system, we will be learning about 5 different offerings. Not all the offerings involve blood, but they all involve fire. Fire not only consumes but also rises, giving the person who offers the sacrifice the symbolic picture of reaching upward to God. As I talk about each, I am trying to point out the symbolic aspect of each offering because the system was devised by God as a picture of what Christ would do. Christ would eventually do away with the need for symbolism. There would no longer need to be of a picture when we have the real thing!
We started last month by looking at the sin offering where man sought to commune with God. It was a compulsory offering for unknown sins. Then two weeks later, we looked at the burnt offering, the voluntary offering for consecration and purification. Today we will look at the peace offering. The peace offering is so called because that is precisely what happened to those who made the offering – they were at peace with God.
There were three types of peace offerings. The Thank Offering to express gratitude for an unexpected blessing or deliverance. The Votive Offering to express gratitude for a blessing or deliverance. And the Freewill Offering to express gratitude to God without regard to any specific blessing or deliverance.
As with the previous offerings – the sin offering and the burnt offering – the animal being sacrificed had to have value to its owner - either brought from his herd or bought by him at the temple, and, of course, the animal was to be blemish-free. Unlike the previous two offerings, this animal could be male or female.
As with all sacrifices, the ritual of the peace offering called for the person to lay his hands on the animal about to be slain – in this case to symbolically place the supplicant’s gratitude upon the animal, whereupon the animal was then sacrificed and its blood applied to the altar. The main point of this offering was the symbolic sharing between God, the priest and the person making the sacrifice. The fat, represented God’s portion. The right thigh (called the heave offering) and the breast (called the wave offering) were kept by the priest. The reason “wave” and “heave”, for those of you who are interested, is because before taking the portions of meat the priest would place his hands under the hands of the person making the sacrifice and together they would move the breast side to side and the thigh up and down – thus wave and heave. The symbolism to the movement - it makes the sign of the cross.
Once God and the priest had their portion, the rest of the animal belonged to the person making the offering. This he would enjoy with his family in a joyous communal feast. This foreshadows the peace which the believer has with God through Jesus Christ. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our LORD Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1) ”… to reconcile all things to Himself…having peace through the blood of His cross….He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight…”(Col.1:20-22)
This morning after service we will enjoy a communal feast expressing our love and fellowship and peace with our brothers and sisters in Christ. I hope you plan to stay and celebrate our shared communion with our LORD and Savior.
Now before we come forward for the cup and the bread, symbolizing the blood and broken body of our LORD, let’s pray for the consecration of the elements:
Father, God, we come before you this morning as Your children to express our gratitude for Your sacrifice. You loved us so much that you were willing to give Your only begotten Son so we might join you in paradise when our time on this earth is done. LORD, we look forward to seeing You face to face. As we partake together with these symbols of Your broken body and Your blood, we pray we will do so with full and deep understanding of how precious was this blood which reconciled the world to You. It is by the suffering of Your innocent Son that we are saved, and by Your blood we are redeemed. We delight in singing, “Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow; No other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus.” Thank You, LORD, for opening our eyes and enlightening us to what you have done to pay the price for human sin. When I realize that my sins put You on the cross for my salvation, I am in awe and wonder. You did not cry out from the cross for my judgment, but for my salvation. There are no words to express how thankful I am for Your willingness to die for me, to ensure I would be called Your child. You came so I might have life and have it more abundantly. In Jesus’ name, I pray. AMEN
Let’s pray silently. Ask God to reveal to you if there is a need for repentance before you partake. As you come silently before our LORD and God, ask Him to also reveal to you the deep and wide trail of blood leading to the cross for our sake.
Starting on my left, please come forward to be served the elements, please hold on to your serving until all have been served so we may partake together.
(When all are ready to partake) “The Lord Jesus on the night He was betrayed, took bread and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is my body which is for you; do this in remembrance of me” Let’s partake.
(When all are ready to partake of the cup) “In the same way, after supper He took the cup saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”