Monday, September 28, 2009

Yom Kippur

I loved the sermon from a couple of weeks ago, where Bill White taught about the idea of Adventure. (If you missed it, you can download it on our website.) For parents with young children (like me), he encouraged us to consider what is the giftedness that we can pass on to the next generation. There are things that each of us can pass on, that are unique for each family. For example, I'm probably never going to teach my kids how to change the oil in a car, besides giving them directions to the local repair shop. I can't teach my sons how to throw a curveball, or especially how to hit one. I'm not a theological expert or an natural teacher. But that's OK, because there are other skills and ideas that God has given me to equip them with.

I am Jewish (circumcised by a Rabbi in my grandparents' apartment when I was 8 days old, Hebrew private school for 4 years, Bar Mitzvah at age 13, etc) and a Christ-follower (since I was 19 years old). I believe that God wants me to teach my children about how God has worked through His chosen people, to proclaim His Gospel message. I have loved learning about how the Old Testament laws, feasts, etc, point so clearly to Christ, and I love teaching my kids about that. It's one thing God has given me to give to them.

Today is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. As the kids were eating breakfast, I used two stuffed animals to talk about what God commanded for this holy day. There were two goats (but I had to use horses because we don't have any stuffed animal goats). For one goat, the high priest in Israel laid his hands on its head to impune on it all the sins of Israel, and that goat was carried outside of the Israeli camp and set free. This goat, called the "scapegoat," points to Christ, I believe, as it is written in John 1 -- "Behold the Lamb of God, who carries away the sin of the world." Jesus didn't just banish sin from a distance; He carried that sin on Himself. The second goat was slaughtered as an offering to God. This also points to Christ, as He was slain for our sins.

Why did I love talking about this to my kids? Because of the nuggets of Biblical truth that they took away; they don't get the whole theological picture, but that's OK (I don't always "get it" all either). Elijah (5 years old) was completely shocked that they killed the goat. It was a reminder to me that I need to talk more about this with him, that the punishment for our sin requires blood. Animal sacrifices are nasty and repulsive, but so is my sin to a Holy God.

I asked Hannah (turned 8 last week): "Why don't we have to sacrifice animals for our sins anymore?" She replied, "Because Jesus already died for our sins."

Beautiful. I could not have been more excited that God used me to teach them the Gospel this morning. Our nasty sin needs a sacrifice, and Jesus already was our sacrifice.

If you want to dig deeper, here's an article that came out today about Yom Kippur.

-- Joey Espinosa

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