And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock. If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD. And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.
(Lev 1:1-4 KJV)
Have you laid hold of Christ?
The Picture of the Animal
As previously noted this was an animal without any defect or blemish. This quality of the animal represented part of the sinlessness of Christ–conformity with the external requirements of the law. In addition, the animal was washed inwardly. This represented that Christ was sinless in the inward man as well. Many could feign an external conformity with the law, but no man conformed inwardly. Only Christ was truly sinless.
Despite this, the skin was stripped from the animal. Clothing and skin provide coverings for the body. This covering represents righteousness. Removing the skin of the animal meant that Christ would be stripped of His clothing, literally on the cross, figuratively in that He was stripped of His righteousness. He became sin, who knew no sin. This is an aspect of the gospel that is often glossed over. In your own life, imagine if you are publicly accused, falsely, by many many people of committing heinous acts. Your reputation is ruined. Moreover, everything you have ever said or done is looked at with suspicion, at best, or cast in your teeth as further accusation. Covenantally, Christ was made responsible for all the sin and sins of mankind. He was treated as if He were the sole perpetrator, the root cause, of all of it. The Lord of Glory was castigated as the vilest of sinners.
The animal was drained of blood. The bible tells us that the life is in the blood. Draining the blood meant that life was to be taken from the animal, every shred of it. The sinner is unworthy of life, he is only worthy of death. Christ’s life was to be taken from Him and He was made subject to death, not only death of the body, but the death of subjection to the wrath of God.
The animal was dismembered. This symbolized its being made absolutely impotent, incapable of any movement. After final judgment, the sinner is rendered impotent, incapable of any movement toward God, any ability to call upon God as Father. Jesus, who had prayed “Abba, Father” repeatedly in scripture, was reduced to the cry of every sinner in hell, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me!” This cry was also graphically pictured by Jesus’ description of hell being a place of wailing and gnashing of teeth, sinners writhing in paroxysms of ungodly sorrow and undying rage.
This is the utter humiliation that Christ underwent for us. We are utterly heartless if we look at Him and do not weep tears of shame at our sin and joy at how He loves us. We are fools if we do not lay hold of the salvation offered to us in Christ!