You can’t understand sacrifice of Jesus until you understand sacrifice in Leviticus. Leviticus 16 is about the Day of Atonement? How was the Day of Atonement like spring cleaning?
An atoning sacrifice is also known as a ransom in Leviticus. Let’s consider how a ransom works.
Jay Sklar writes, “In the Old Testament, a ‘ransom’ has the following characteristics:
1. It is a legally or ethically legitimate payment;
2. It delivers a guilty party from a just punishment that is the right of the offended party to execute or to have executed;
3. It is a lesser punishment than was originally expected;
4. It is up to the offended party whether or not to accept the payment; and
5. Its acceptance serves both to rescue the life of the guilty and to appease the offended party, thus restoring peace to the relationship.
Exodus 21:28-30 is an example of how a ransom works in human-to-human relationships. Read Exodus 21:28-30
How can a man whose ox has gored others multiple times avoid the death penalty?
Is the offended party required to place a ransom upon the offender?
How would you view the offended party’s action?
Read Leviticus 17:11
Just as God mercifully provided for a ransom in human-to-human relationships Lev. 17:11 is about how ransom, or atonement, also works in God-to-human relationships. Sacrifice in Leviticus is a ransom for those who deserve death.
Read Mark 10:45
How does Jesus’s death on the cross meet the requirements of ransom above?
How is Jesus’ ransom payment even better than that required in the Old Testament?
How much of the debt has not been paid by Jesus? How does this help us to understand why the New Testament speaks of Jesus’ saving work as a gift (see Romans 6:23 and Ephesians 2:8)?