Mike Morrell has been exploring the atonement lately and I was struck by this statement connecting the image of sacrifice with food. I’m sure I’ll explore this more when I get to the laws about sacrifices.
Jesus’ death can be rightly seen as ‘sacrifice.’ But in the Hebrew faith sacrifice is not centrally about killing; it’s about giving your best – representative of your all. By freely giving a symbolic portion of your sustenance – the very food you eat, grain and meat – God meets the collective people with all that God is, giving away God-as-sustenance. (Which makes sense of Jesus speaking of his death and resurrection as real food & real drink in John 6)
Good stuff Mike!
The same stream in Christian thought that has reduced the atonement to a legal transaction has also come to equate the death of Jesus with the sin offering. In fact, the entire system of sacrifices has come to be seen by many Christians as a way to deal with sin and guilt in a purely forensic sense. The Passover meal, however, was not a sin offering. It was a fellowship offering. In fact, given that with the exception of incense, all the elements of the various sacrifices were food (meat, grain, drink), it might be appropriate to interpret the sin and guilt offerings in light of the fellowship offering, rather than make them the paradigm with the fellowship offering as an anomaly.