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Communion Meditations (2017)

Human Sacrifice

Originally scheduled for October 22

It is a consistent pattern among primitive human beings: there is a hierarchy of things which can be sacrificed to the gods. You can sacrifice grain; you can sacrifice wine, but the highest level of sacrifice — most pleasing to the gods — is a blood sacrifice. There seems to be some preference for a live blood sacrifice; the chicken squawking on the altar seems to amuse the gods, somehow. Of course, the highest level of blood sacrifice is human sacrifice. It seems that humans are the tastiest of morsels to the gods.

That, naturally, brings up the question of where you’re going to get all those human sacrifices. The usual answer is we will start at the lowest level with captives from the last war. While these are less valuable than other kinds, they are usually abundant in the winning culture, and any deficiencies can be made up by the cruelty used in sacrificing them. But eventually you get to higher levels of human sacrifice; female virgins are a popular item. But as those usually don’t belong in your own personal family, the most expensive item is one of your children. If you think it didn’t happen, see Jeremiah 35:25. The kings of Israel took their infant children and threw them inside a hollow idol which was being heated. This was accompanied by loud music, so the parents wouldn’t hear the screams of the children.

Into this world full of human sacrifices came the story of Isaac. At first it looked like Abraham was going to have to sacrifice Isaac like so many other children had been sacrificed. But Abraham was confident of God; “God will provide the sacrifice.” By its very example it prohibited human sacrifice for the children of God. One reason for this, quite simply, is that contrary to what most people thought human sacrifice was not considered excessive. It was considered not good enough. The sacrifice that takes away the sins has to be perfect, and none of us are perfect. The only way there could ever be a perfect human sacrifice, a perfect propitiation for sin, was if God provided the sacrifice. He provided a ram for Abraham; he provided Jesus Christ for all of us.

Think of that: all the chickens ever sold to Colonel Sanders, all the cows and potatoes sold to McDonald’s, all these things combined cannot possibly atone for the sins of mankind. The only effective sacrifice is Jesus on the Cross. That is the price God paid for your salvation. When you partake of this communion, you see symbolically the blood of Christ in the cup, the body of Christ in the bread. He asks that you do this to remember the sacrifice he made. Until he returns again, this will always be the most important event in human history. Please, examine yourself and take this communion in a worthy manner — not lightly, not bored but eternally grateful.

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