Temple Sacrifice and Salvation

After Jesus was born, Luke tells us that His parents took Him to the temple to present Him to the Lord, and to complete their time of purification by offering turtledoves or pigeons for an ascension offering and a sin offering, just like the Law told them to. There they met faithful Simeon, who had been waiting to see God’s salvation, and who spoke of the wonderful things that Jesus would do.

At the end of His life, Jesus Himself became the new temple, the place where God meets with His people, and now He builds His people into His body as the new temple where we present ourselves to God as we meet together in worship.

But because of that little baby that Simeon rejoiced in, when we come to present ourselves to God, there is no new death required for our purification and for the forgiveness of our sins. Christ was sacrificed once for all, and that’s what we memorialize before God through the Lord’s Supper. We share in that once-for-all sacrifice as we eat and drink His body and blood together as God’s temple.

And having communed with Christ, we can leave like Simeon – if you should walk out of here to face your death this week, you can depart in peace, because you have tasted and seen God’s salvation here in this temple, here at this table.

We haven’t lived perfect lives, and our hearts aren’t perfect yet either. Our world hasn’t yet felt the full effects of God’s salvation. But as we share in the Lord’s Supper, we encounter Jesus, the salvation that God has prepared in the sight of all peoples. Like Simeon, we haven’t seen everything. But like Simeon, we’ve seen Jesus, and that’s enough. And so we depart in peace, purified and forgiven, blessing God for the salvation He gives through Jesus Christ.

Posted on Wednesday, January 03, 2018 by CJ Bowen