In the book of Leviticus, there are many ceremonial laws and sacrificial rules that may bore most readers. However, upon closer look, we may find more connections to Jesus in this book than in any other. Let’s dive in to see how Jesus fits into a book of laws.
Leviticus can be broken into three main parts: laws for priests, sacrificial laws, and purity laws. There are more subcategories but let’s work with these for now. When it comes to priestly laws and duties, it is not hard to see that Jesus fulfills all of these roles. We have already discussed how he fulfills the High Priest role by going up to heaven on our behalf and his sacrifice for atonement. Hebrews 4:14-15 says, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” We can still connect with our High Priest since he knows what we are going through. He has shared in our temptations yet he was perfect.
In terms of sacrifice, some sacrifices made atonement for the people’s sins. To atone means to pay a debt and to purify. Jesus’s sacrifice does these two things. 1 John 2:2 says he is the propitiation for our sins. This means that he atones and completely rids us of our sins. 1 Peter 3:18 says that Jesus suffered to “bring us to God”. Jesus’ sacrifice paid it all for our sins. We no longer have to offer such animal sacrifices because Jesus’ blood was shed on our behalf once and for all.
When discussing purity laws, we must focus on why there were such laws. It wasn’t about physical dirtiness or cleanliness. It was about dedicating yourself and living in such a way that honored Yahweh and the life he gives us. When Jesus comes onto the scene, he himself was pure, and therefore can make us pure. John says this in 1 John 3:3, “And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” When we put our hope and trust in him, we become pure because we have trusted in the only one who is pure himself. Since Jesus can forgive sins, which he made clear to the paralytic in Mark 2, this is the reason for us being purified. When he died on the cross, purification became available. When we put our hope in him, we became pure. It all points back to the cross and faith in him.