Reflecting on Leviticus

I just read Leviticus again.  As usual, I come away shaking my head.  For those looking for what is wrong with religion, Leviticus provides plenty of ammunition. 

Of course, like much of the Old Testament, it is a strange mixture of beauty and truth, barbarisms and legalisms.  When I read it, my reaction is gratitude that we have been delivered from that. 

We Christians are notorious for plucking sentences out of strange texts like Leviticus and presenting them as some sort of proof for an opinion we have reached entirely independently of the text.  And we’ll engage in complex intellectual gymnastics to try to excuse or make sense of the rest of it.

But our model should be Jesus. 

Leviticus:

Anyone who injures their neighbor is to be injured in the same manner:  fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The one who has inflicted the injury must suffer the same injury.

Jesus:

You have heard that it was said, “Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.” But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.

Leviticus:

…both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.

Jesus:

Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.

Leviticus:

I will set my face against any Israelite or any foreigner residing among them who eats blood, and I will cut them off from the people.

Jesus:

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.

And there are other parallels I could list as well.  The bottom line for me is that we must not put on blinders–we have to see these levitical texts for what they are.  And for those who follow Jesus, they can only have religious significance if seen through the lens of Christ.

Love Wins