“The flesh of of the sacrifice of his peace offering for thanksgiving shall be eaten on the day he offers it. He shall not leaven any of it until morning.”
᛭ INI ᛭
Peace sacrifices. They make for and confess peace. That’s what they were for in Israel. It didn’t matter if they were offered because of thanksgiving or a vow or just because (“freewill offering”). These were Lambs of peace. (There could also be bulls or goats. [Lev 3:1–5, 12–16])
No matter the animal, they were all to be “without blemish.” Slaughtered by the hand of the one who brought them. The blood splattered by the priest “all around the altar.” Its fat portions burned upon the altar. “On top of the burnt offering, which is on the wood, on the fire.“
But these peace lambs or cows or goats weren’t completely burned up. Parts of them were eaten, too. Eaten by the Israelite who brought them, and eaten by the priest who splattered the blood, too. (“The laborer is worthy of his wage.”) They would be offered and eaten with loaves. The loaves were “mixed” with oil, or they were “smeared” with oil, literally, “Anointed Bread.”
All the sacrifices point forward to Jesus. He is the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Each bull, each lamb, each goat, each bird, each anointed loaf, a picture and shadow of Jesus. Each ceremonial law, each law about worship, was “a shadow of the things to come, but the body that casts the shadow is Christ’s.”
JESUS IS YOUR TRUE LAMB OF PEACE.
(I. Jesus is the Sacrifice of our peace.)
Jesus is the pure and sinless eternal Son of God, yet also “born of the Virgin Mary.” Mary’s little Lamb, and yet “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” When you have sins, you don’t have peace. Well, when you have sins apart from faith in Jesus, there’s no peace. The devil turns our eyes of faith off of Jesus, and then there’s no peace.
But you really do have “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom 5) You really are “justified,” declared innocent by God, “through faith in Jesus Christ.” (Rom 5) For “He is just and the Justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus Christ.” (Rom 3) The foundation of this peace isn’t our faith. Faith receives and rejoices in the peace that Jesus wins for us as the Lamb of God who takes away our sin, pays for it with His own life.
Jesus made peace “peace by the blood of his cross.” (Col 1) “He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” (Is 53), forgiven, have peace with God. Jesus “himself is our peace” (Eph 2), the “Prince of Peace,” (Is 9) the Lamb of Peace, YOUR TRUE LAMB OF PEACE.
(II. Through His Supper we have peace with God and with each other.)
But the Lord doles out His peace in such a way so that you’re certain of having it. He’s not piecemeal with His peace. He gives it out abundantly, tangibly, so there’s no doubt about it. This is what the sacrifices of peace are about. The assurance and confession of peace. Yahweh’s at peace with them because He’s a “God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. He forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin.” He has sacrifices for sin, but also sacrifices for peace. He “gives peace” to His children, as His blessing from Numbers 6 says. He “speaks peace to His people, to His saints.” (Ps 85)
His people and His priests eat portions of the peace offering. Peace is brought into their homes! They eat of the Lord’s peace offering. The priest receives “the breast…And the right thigh…as a contribution from the sacrifice of your peace offerings.” The Israelite would’ve received the rest of the flesh to eat. (The fat and organs were burned up.)
Jesus “himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile [Jew and Gentile] to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” (Eph 2) He broke down the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile. He brought peace when there wasn’t before.
This peace isn’t just calvary. He brings it to us! Like the eating of the peace offering, we, too, eat the Supper of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. God’s at peace with you. He has to be! The very body and blood of Jesus that secured our peace with God, is given us to eat and to drink. We, like the Israelites, eat the Lamb of Peace! That’s another more intimate way that JESUS IS YOUR TRUE LAMB OF PEACE. It’s at His altar!
Receiving His body and blood, “our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience,” (Heb 10) as Hebrews says. So also in Holy Baptism, “our bodies washed with pure water.” (Heb 10) Yet, “not at as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to a clean conscience before God,” (1 Pt 3) as Peter says. Supper and Baptism give the same benefits just a different delivery system!
We also have peace with each other through JESUS who IS YOUR TRUE LAMB OF PEACE. Jesus died for us all. But we’re also all baptized into the same Jesus. Grudges die in the death of Jesus. They’re drowned at the Font. They choke to death on the body and blood of Jesus given us to eat and to drink for the forgiveness of all our sins. “We who are many, are one body for we’ve all eaten of the one bread” (1 Cor 10) that is the body of Jesus.
Since JESUS IS YOUR TRUE LAMB OF PEACE, you’re actually free to do what Jesus says: “If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Mt 5) “Be at peace with one another.” (Mk 9) You already are, not in your own actions, but Christ’s actions for you and through you—Calvary and Supper.
Peace is something in short supply in the world these days. Not only around the world, but in your world, too. There’s disquiet, discontent. But worldly peace won’t solve any of these problems. Jesus does.
JESUS IS YOUR TRUE LAMB OF PEACE.
He won for you eternal peace in the forgiveness of your sins. “He Himself is our peace,” “making peace by the blood of His cross,” “by His wounds you are healed.” The devil turns us away from Jesus’ peace. “With his lying and murdering day and night [the devil] will let [you] have no peace, within or without.” (Christian Questions with Their Answers)
JESUS IS YOUR TRUE LAMB OF PEACE all the more, then! He gives you His body and blood for the forgiveness of your sins and your eternal peace. Peace with Him. Peace with each other to boot. Bodied and blooded together. Each of us together. Each of us with Jesus. Never-ending peace.