"If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, you are to offer a male without defect ... You are to lay your hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on your behalf to make atonement for you." Leviticus 1:3-4
Sometimes an Old Testament passage may make you wonder, "What in the world does that have to do with me and my life?" That may have come to mind as you read today's passage. Interestingly, Leviticus was the first book studied by a Jewish child. It was important because it showed that "sacrifice was given by God as the only sufficient means for Israelites to remain in harmonious fellowship" with God.*
Note today's instruction regarding the burnt offering. First, the offering had to be a male "without defect." A deficient sacrifice would not do. Second, the person laid his hands on the head of the burnt offering. This identified the worshiper with the animal as his personal substitute. Third, the animal was sacrificed in order to "make atonement" for the individual. Atonement means that reconciliation between God and man was achieved through the sacrifice.
God's sacrificial system in the Old Testament was a picture and preparer for the coming Lamb of God. Jesus came "without defect." By faith we lay our hands on Him identifying ourselves with Jesus as our substitute. The death of Jesus on our behalf brings forgiveness and reconciles us with the Holy God. Amazing, isn't it? Wherever you are in the Old Testament, God the Father is preparing us for God the Son.
Father, thank You for preparing us for Jesus. Thank You for the atonement that He provides by His death on the cross. By faith we identify ourselves with Him and receive Your forgiveness and reconciliation. Thank You! In Jesus' name. Amen.
*Bible Knowledge Commentary, David C. Cook, 1989, p. 164