Understanding Sacrifice

Where there is love, there is sacrifice.

Just two highlights from a fascinating article on Jewish sacrifice:

“…some people thought of sacrifices as a kind of bribe: if we make a generous enough gift to God then He may overlook our crimes and misdemeanours”… “This is an idea radically incompatible with Judaism.”

“In other faiths the driving motive behind sacrifice was fear: fear of the anger and power of the gods. In Judaism it was love.

We see this in the Hebrew word for sacrifice itself: the noun korban, and the verb lehakriv, which mean, “to come, or bring close”. The name of God invariably used in connection with the sacrifices is Hashem, God in his aspect of love and compassion, never Elokim, God as justice and distance. ”


In our place… or on our behalf?

I have heard a thousand times that Jesus died “in my place”. Yet wherever I look in Scripture it states He died “for me”, that is, on my behalf. The words “substitute” and “substitution” do not appear anywhere in the entire salvific narrative of Scripture.

In World War II many thousands of soldiers died for their country. We would say of them that they died “for us” – that is for our sakes – so that we could live in a better world. What they did not do was to die “in our place”; we were never in the firing line. They died their own death, at a particular moment in history, in order that we might be free. “For us” and “in our place” are not synonymous.  Continue reading “In our place… or on our behalf?”