Today's reading was from Leviticus 4-7 and Hebrews 3. Yesterday I wrote about some of the big picture lessons we should draw from the sacrificial system of the Old Testament. Today I want to draw out some key differences between the priests under the Law and the "apostle and high priest of our confession," Jesus (Hebrews 3:1).
First of all, I noticed that in Leviticus 4 provisions were made for sacrifices in the event that the "anointed priest" sinned (4:3). Second, I noticed that there were several references to the "leftovers" of the sacrifices being reserved for the priests. This was true of the grain offering (6:16), the guilt offering (7:8-10), and the peace offering (7:14, 31-35).
Provision for sacrifices for the sins of the priest was necessary because the priests were fallible and could sin just like any other Israelite. And the physical provisions of food were essential because the Levites did not have land of their own to work, due to their unique service to Israel. They were dependent on the provisions God reserved for them in the sacrificial system (as well as the tithes, which will come up later).
All of this stands in such stark contrast to Jesus as our great high priest. He was sinless - no provision was needed for Him to be forgiven. In fact, His sinlessness is OUR provision, so that we might be forgiven (1 Peter 2:22-24). And while Jesus needed food to eat and water to drink in His earthly ministry, we know that ultimately He was the creator of all things - including whatever physical necessities He used during His lifetime (John 1:3; Col. 1:15-16).
Jesus truly came to serve rather than to be served (Matt. 20:28).