The Anguish of Guilt
Today’s reading: Leviticus 15-17; Matthew 27:1-31
6 “Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering for himself and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. Leviticus 16:6
5 And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. Matthew 27:5
If there is any theme that runs through these two readings today, it is guilt, human guilt for sin. It is a theme that runs through history since the first sin committed by the first human couple in the garden (Genesis 3).
In Leviticus, the high priest must offer a sacrifice for his own sin before he can offer a sacrifice for the sin of the people. He is high priest, but he is as sinful and guilty as the rest of the rank and file. As we have been seeing, the Aaronic priesthood was imperfect and incomplete and pointed to a need for a better priesthood, one that was established by the Lord Jesus Christ. All of this will be even clearer when we get to the Epistle to the Hebrews.
The circumstances surrounding Jesus’ betrayal, arrest, and trial also reveal the various parties showing the ravages of their guilt. Judas is tormented by the realization that he has betrayed an innocent man. He seeks to rid himself of this guilt by returning the money he received. That effort is rejected. He hangs himself.
Pilate and his wife show anguish over the case before him, the accusations against Jesus. Pilate looks in vain for a way out. He seems to be moved by the willingness of the crowd to accept any blame for this execution.
Guilt tears apart the human soul, but if God is gracious to us His Spirit moves us beyond guilt to repentance and faith in the true High Priest who offered Himself for the sin of His people. In Him we find forgiveness, not through a diluting of our guilt but, through an offering that is so infinitely worthy it purchased redemption for the vast host of God’s elect people.
Praise Him, my believing friend, for deliverance from not only the anguish of our guilt but the due consequences of all our sin through Christ.