Leviticus 1, John 20, Proverbs 17, Philippians 4

Leviticus 1:3-5

I was struck by the repetition of "before the LORD".  To be accepted before the LORD, the people of Israel must bring a male without flaw, lay his hand on the head of the animal to be offered and kill it before the LORD.  This was done to make atonement.  This animal's death, in place of the one making the offering, was necessary for right standing before God. 

I tend to forget, but this offering was costly.  Meat was a rare delicacy.  The burnt offering was totally consumed; nothing was for human consumption, it was all for the LORD.   The reason for the options of a bull, sheep, goat, dove or pigeon is based on what could be afforded. 

By laying his hands on the sacrifice's head, the worshiper was acknowledging his sin and the transfer of the guilt to the animal who was to die in his place. 

LORD God, You are just.  All rebellion against You must be punished.  But LORD God, You are gracious and merciful.  Your willingness to not only accept a substitute but to provide the One true sacrifice proves Your grace and mercy. 

John 20:1-18

Mary Magdalene is a great person to study. 

She was one of the women who followed Jesus, ministering to Him (Luke 8:2-3), she followed Him to the Cross (Matthew 27:55) and to the tomb (Matthew 27:61).  She was the first person to see the resurrected Lord and Jesus had cast seven demons out of her (Mark 16:9).  Tradition has identified her as the woman in Luke 7:36-50, but there is nothing in the NT to support that claim. 

In this passage, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, but Peter and John didn't.  She had to run and get them.  They came and left, but Mary stayed persistently looking for Jesus.  She saw two angels, but even that did not distract her.  She wanted to find Him.  What a great reward for her pursuit.  When Jesus came to her, she did not recognize Him but asked where Jesus was.

When Jesus called her name, she immediately knew Him.  He truly is the Good Shepherd.  He is the One who calls His own sheep by name, and they know His voice and follow Him.

Lord Jesus, may I have the persistence of Mary Magdalene.  When I do not understand what is happening, may I pursue You as she did.  The reward of seeing You and hearing You call my name is worth any effort.

Philippians 4:1-4

Just as "before the LORD" caught my attention in Leviticus 1, "in the Lord" stood out as I read Philippians 4.  It reminded me of the difference between the old and new covenant.  In Leviticus under the old covenant, the people stood "before" the Lord and in Philippians under the new covenant, the brothers stood "in" the Lord. 

In the Lord is a phrase Paul uses several times in Philippians.  "In the Lord" we are to be confident, hope, trust, receive fellow believers with joy, rejoice, stand firm, agree, rejoice always, and rejoice greatly (Philippians 1:14; 2:19, 24, 29; 3:1; 4:1, 2, 4,10).

Lord Jesus, thank You for the new covenant, Your body broken for me, Your blood shed for me.  Father thank You, because of You I am in Christ Jesus my Lord.