A good friend broke my double bass—a large, expensive, stringed instrument used in orchestras and jazz bands. We were loading up the van before traveling to a gig and he carelessly set the bass down on an incline. The wind was blowing that night and the hollow, wooden instrument toppled, resulting in multiple breaks.
“I’m so sorry!” he exclaimed and assured me he’d find the money to fix it. He felt guilty and wanted to fix what he’d broken, but he couldn’t really afford the repairs. I couldn’t pay for them either, so my parents offered to have it mended. They paid a high cost for someone else’s mistake.
Leviticus 16 is about the Day of Atonement, an annual ceremony designed to cleanse the sins of the people of ancient Israel (Leviticus 16:29-30). It was a day when goats were killed so that God’s people could know life (Leviticus 16:15-17, 20-22). These animals died because sin, the people’s offenses against God, required the payment of death (Hebrews 10:1-3; Romans 6:23).
The same is true today. Sin still causes death, but Scripture reveals that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” and that Jesus’ blood is the “perfect sacrifice” for our sins (Hebrews 10:13; Hebrews 9:12-14). He’s paid the price for what we’ve broken (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Leviticus 16 is an easy chapter to overlook in our Scripture reading. It’s in the middle of a section of the Bible that can seem difficult to apply to our lives. But it’s also a glimpse into the work of God: He alone atones—pays the debt for our sins. It’s part of a theme that gets developed in the big story of the Bible: God is more powerful than death.
Today, read Leviticus 16 with fresh eyes, and thank Jesus for your atonement.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 2 Kings 2:13-25
Read Hebrews 9:1–10:18 alongside Leviticus 16 and consider the themes of atonement and sacrifice found throughout the Bible.
Has anyone ever paid the cost of fixing something you’ve broken or destroyed? How does this experience help you better understand the atoning sacrifice of Jesus?