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Meaning of Sacrifice

Dr. Carissa Quinn
Why did God's people practice animal sacrifice? In today's Bible study, we explore how this ancient practice points us to God's enduring forgiveness.

The Bible has a lot to say about animal sacrifice, but it’s a strange topic for us as modern readers. Why did God’s people engage in this practice? In today’s Bible study, we are exploring the biblical theme of sacrifice and atonement and how it points to God’s forgiving love for his people. Listen to the message, watch the video, open your Bible, and interact with the questions below.


Listen to a short message from Carissa on the meaning of sacrifice and atonement in the Bible. You can listen to this on your own or with a group. If you are leading a small group or family, feel free to listen to the message and contextualize it for your needs.
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Carissa's Message on Sacrifice and Atonement
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Listen to the whole audio on the Reflections Podcast

Read and Discuss


Video Question
What image stood out to you in the video and why?

Message Question
How did Carissa’s message challenge or encourage you today?

For the Israelites, animal sacrifice was a symbol to demonstrate the cost of sin, but it showed how God could cleanse and remove their sin. Animal sacrifices pointed ahead to Jesus, the “lamb of God,” who would come to take away sin once and for all. When we remember Jesus’ death on the cross, we recognize the devastating effects of our sin and see his power to forgive. And in Jesus’ resurrection, we can experience God’s power to remove the deadly effects of our sin. His sacrifice brings life to all who trust in him.

Let’s reflect on this. Feel free to engage with all the questions or just a few right now. You can also reflect throughout the week by focusing on one question per day.

Reflection 1:

As you review today’s passage, pay attention to the details. What word, phrase, or idea stands out to you?

Reflection 2:

Ponder the meaning of verse 14. What do you think it means to be made complete in Jesus while still in the process of being made holy and complete?

Reflection 3:

How did Jesus complete his work on our behalf (see vv. 9-10)? How is he still completing his work in and through us? (see vv. 15-25)?

Reflection 4:

1 John 1:9 says that when we admit our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse us. What comes to mind when you think about how you’ve sinned against God and others? Why is it hard to be honest about our failings? What is needed for a community to be a safe place where people can be honest with one another? What step can you take this week to build this kind of community?

Reflection 5:

Take time now to receive and rely on God’s forgiveness. He’s listening and he cares for you. Ask him to remove your sin from your record and wash away your guilt and shame. What feelings, images, or thoughts come to mind as you invite Jesus to take away your sin?

Reflection 6:

When God removes our sin, he makes us pure and commits to help us live in his love. Who in your life needs encouragement today? What can you sacrifice to show them the love of Jesus?

Reflection 7:

Turn your reflections into a prayer. Express your amazement to God for the sacrifice he made to make you completely clean. Admit where you struggle to rely on him. Choose to receive his forgiveness and then forgive others who have wronged you too, and ask for his help to share his love and encouragement to others this week.

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