- Jesus Is Better
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God established temple worship and the position of Priest to give the people access to Himself. The temple was not a small white chapel on a hill somewhere; it was a sprawling complex that cost millions of dollars. Solomon’s temple was awe inspiriting, a beautiful marvel of architecture. Thousands of priests would serve at the temple doing all kinds of services.
Millions of people would have come to worship there. Building the temple, serving at the temple, and regularly going there were all supposed to be acts of worship for a mighty God. But after all those resources were allocated, all that time was spent serving at the temple and maintaining it, the purpose of the temple got lost.
“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord’s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts. And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says the Lord of hosts. Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand. – Malachi 1:6-10
The priests and the people had become cold and indifferent in their worship of God. They brought broken and maimed animals to sacrifice to a perfect and a Holy God. They would not have brought the least desirable animals as a gift to a human king but they brought them to the God of the Universe. Malachi says it would be better to shut the doors of the temple than to perpetuate this worthless worship.
What we offer to God is an indication of our love and devotion to Him. These priests had participated in dead religion. Ritual with no relationship. Labor with no love.
But we have a better High Priest. Jesus demands the highest praise for our heavenly Father. He accepts nothing less! Jesus was the ultimate example of the priest… and the sacrifice. A lamb without blemish or spot died in our place for our sins. How great is our God!