Altar is one more name for Jesus among many. As we continue our weekly Lenten study of the different names and attributes of our Lord and Savior, we explore Jesus as our altar.
OLD TESTAMENT WORSHIP WAS QUITE DIFFERENT THAN TODAY!
God gave the Israelites specific instructions on how to build the tabernacle that honors Him and exactly the manner in which they were to bring sacrifices for forgiveness, blessings, praise and thanksgiving.
Mizbeach is the Hebrew word translated altar, but its meaning is literally a place of slaughter. In order for the Priests to make the sacrifices for the people they first must be somewhat like modern day butchers – preparing the animal in very specific ways for sacrifice.
HOW THINGS HAVE CHANGED!
You see the ultimate sacrifice means we don’t have to continually present sacrifices to God. However, we must replace the old altar with Jesus. In fact, the above Scripture tells us that those who don’t receive Jesus as Lord and Savior don’t share in the blessings of His sacrifice.
And don’t minimize the sacrifice! Just like Old Testament mizbeach (Hebrew word for place of slaughter), Jesus was the innocent and perfect lamb led to slaughter. (Isaiah 53:7) It was a horrific day that no words can accurately describe, but it brought us the most glorious day in all of human history.
HOWEVER, KNOW THAT:
We must acknowledge Jesus as our Lord and Savior and seek God’s forgiveness. Surrendering our lives to The Almighty is the first step in our journey with Christ. Without the altar there can be no salvation, walk, or ministry!
Honestly, I really don’t think of Jesus as ‘My Altar’ on a day-to-day basis. As I wrote this article I realized that while Jesus wants me to come as a child, He wants an obedient and respectful child. He provided very specific instructions to the Israelites about everything including the altar and sacrifices.
So, the people knew that while He chose them He also expected their worship. He is the One and Only God and He made that clear to the Hebrew nation. They understood who He is! Do we?
SO WHEN WE COME TO THE ALTAR OF JESUS CHRIST:
We understand that, as I said above, things have changed – BUT GOD HAS NOT! (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17) After all, Jesus ended the difficult practice of continual sacrifices. However, God does not change and when we come to Jesus, our altar, let us understand why the first part of the Lord’s Prayer says: “Hallowed be Thy Name.” This is translated in the NLT: “may Your Name be kept holy.”
It is important to remember this when we come to our gracious and loving Father for conversation.
COMMENTS AND RESOURCES
Think about the above reflection questions and share insights or prayer requests by putting your thoughts in the comment section below. I usually respond. So, return to the post for my reply and possibly see some feedback from others in our community.
We are coming to the end of Lent and only have two more names to examine. In the meantime, if you need some help with prayer, check out my prayer style quiz. Additionally, Richard LaFountain’s website: prayertoday.org is a great resource. He also has a devotional book that walks you through many Names of Jesus.