Today is Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. But for the Christian, this is a beautiful day that has already been fulfilled, along with all other Mosaic laws, as Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice for sin. Leviticus 16:30-34 and Hebrews 9:6-7 would be great verses to read today in your observance. While Israel awaited a Messiah to conquer external enemies, the gospel reveals that the primary enemy vanquished by Jesus was sin itself, reconciling humanity with God. Thus, Yom Kippur serves both as a lasting tradition and a foreshadowing that Jesus has once and for all put away sin through his sacrifice, declaring “it is finished.”
Take a moment to read this personal liturgy and its parallels with the ritual sacrifice of the Old Testament:
Father, open this heart,
As I, your child looks at you,
Knowing full well that I have
Broken your laws and done so many times.
The high priest seizes the bull and draws a sharp blade across its throat, severing skin and arteries, blood gushes everywhere- “For my house, oh Lord, accept this blood sacrifice, for our sins.”
Let me fall weeping into your arms,
Give me a contrite heart,
And allow the weight of my sin
To rest upon me.
The high priest lifts the chin of a goat, “and for the sins of the people”, blood flows to atone, pooling in a bowl, sprinkled in the most holy.
As I look to you, my good father,
Let me remember the joy
Of my forgiveness
Through your son Jesus,
The scapegoat, the atoning lamb,
The final sacrifice.
A second goat is brought forward, the sins of the people placed on its head- “Be gone, these sins are remembered no more!” It’s body lies crumpled at a cliff face, lest the sins return to the people.
I boldly approach the throne
and look upon my Father’s face,
the purest warmth of love embraces me.
My blood is required no more.
It is finished.