Jesus, Our Grain Offering

Scripture Focus: Leviticus 2.1-3
1 “ ‘When anyone brings a grain offering to the Lord, their offering is to be of the finest flour. They are to pour olive oil on it, put incense on it 2 and take it to Aaron’s sons the priests. The priest shall take a handful of the flour and oil, together with all the incense, and burn this as a memorial portion on the altar, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord. 3 The rest of the grain offering belongs to Aaron and his sons; it is a most holy part of the food offerings presented to the Lord. 

Reflection: Jesus, Our Grain Offering
By John Tillman

The connection between grain and worship is deep. Its roots go all the way back to Eden, in which, before any other profession, we were gardeners.

The first worship controversy involved Cain’s grains being unacceptable to the Lord. (Genesis 4.3-5) Presumably they were not the best of his crop. Abel’s offering of the “fat portions” of the “firstborn of his flock” was accepted. “Fat portions” does not mean literal fat or waste fat that a chef or butcher might trim from a fine steak and discard. They are the richest part of the animal—the best cut, not the worst. 

All offerings prescribed in Leviticus, whether grain, baked bread, oil, cakes, incense, or animals, were expected to be of the “finest” ingredients. Leftovers, defective animals, second-rate goods, or anything less than the “finest” was an insult to God.

Another way the scripture describes offering God the best is the term, “firstfruits.” Firstfruits referred to the first and best part of the harvest. 

Metaphorically, Israel was the firstfruits of God’s efforts to cultivate righteousness on Earth. Scripture shows Israel as a wild, unruly vine that resists being cultivated. She is a stubborn and unfruitful fig tree that requires great labor to be fruitful. These images show the deep emotional investment God has in his people. God is a cultivator of hearts. He is willing to dig, fertilize, work, prune, labor, and invest in his plan for Salvation. (Luke 13.6-9)

But, until Jesus, all the seeds that God planted failed to fruit. Where he expected righteousness, he would find only leaves—or worse, rot and corruption. (Luke 6.43-44; Matthew 7.19; 21.19; Hosea 9.16)

Jesus recognized that his life was a seed that when planted would fruit one-hundred fold. Paul described Jesus as the “firstfruit from among the dead.” (1 Corinthians 15.20) Jesus is the first and best part of God’s harvest of righteousness. 

When we stand before God, Jesus is our grain offering of the finest ingredients. Jesus is the fully-fruited head of righteousness, from which we can feed and be made fruitful in him. He is the healthy vine into which we can be grafted, so that his life-giving sap can flow in our branches.

Jesus is the bread, the grain, of life. He has offered himself for us and to us. 

Through worship, prayer, and the word of God, may we feed more and more on Jesus, the bread of life, who brings health, strength, and righteousness to the body.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Prayer Appointed for the Week
Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give me this bread, that he may live in me, and I in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever, Amen.

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle

Today’s Readings
Leviticus 2-3 (Listen – 4:43) 
John 21 (Listen – 3:58)

Read more about Normal is Dead—Resurrection Appearances
Scripture doesn’t tell us why Peter went fishing but it is not hard to imagine he needed a touch of normalcy. 

Read more about Bread and Oil
The bread represented that God’s words were the sustenance of life that the community needed.

Reflecting the Unity of Christ :: Worldwide Prayer

Exodus 40.15
Their anointing will be to a priesthood that will continue throughout their generations.

John 19.15
“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.

From John:
We close this week of Lent with a prayer for unity and harmony that comes from the country of Lebanon. The book of prayers this was taken from was published in 1998, in conjunction with a worship conference in Berlin at which I was privileged to minister and attend. At that time, Lebanon was struggling with the effects of a civil war that started with sectarian violence, the effects of which are still felt today. The prayers for unity and peace coming from our brothers and sisters worshiping in places where violence is as common as bad traffic, are especially to be emulated and repeated by us, and treasured by our Heavenly Father.

Reflection: Reflecting the Unity of Christ :: Worldwide Prayer
Prayer for harmony from Lebanon

My Lord and Heavenly Father, I thank you for the opportunity of worship with members of the worldwide Christian family, across barriers of every kind that separate people and keep them apart. This reflects our unity in Christ.

Lord, when we worship together it is a revival of Pentecost, as your Holy Spirit elevates our prayers before your Holy Throne, while also making us aware of each others’ pain and suffering. Dear Lord, mold us into that perfect image that reflects the beauty of Christ in a broken world.

Bless us in our worship to feel your presence, to open our hearts and minds, to be really in touch with you. Help us not to wander away from your presence.

May each one of us really feel your powerful love so that we can share it with others. Help us to share the blessings of knowing you with others and be at peace with you and with each other.

In Jesus’ Holy name we lift our voices of praise with thankfulness.

*Prayer from Hallowed be Thy Name, L. A. (Tony) Cupit, ed., Hallowed be Your Name: A collection of prayers from around the world

Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Let not those who hope in your be put to shame through me, Lord God of hosts; let not those who seek you be disgraced because of me, O God of Israel. — Psalm 69.7

Today’s Readings
Exodus 40 (Listen – 4:07)
John 19 (Listen – 6:23)

This Weekend’s Readings
Leviticus 1 (Listen – 2:37) John 20 (Listen – 4:17)
Leviticus 2-3 (Listen – 4:43) John 21 (Listen – 3:58)

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We find examples of joy under persecution and difficulty in Jesus, Peter, John, Paul, and many others in scripture. But examples are also blossoming amidst persecution around the world.

Read more about The Wrong Fear
Christian thought has always been extremist thought. It is a revolutionary rejection of the world’s power structure. Jesus was crucified for extremist thought. It was Christian extremist thought that brought down slavery.