Sermon in a nutshell: “Ask Forgiveness to the Victims” (Leviticus 3:1-5)
The most important word in the Bible, “Forgiveness”!
What is the most important word in the Bible? It is “forgiveness.” The core message of the Good News is that we are forgiven by God. Forgiveness restores the broken relationships. To have a joyful and meaningful life, we need to be forgiven. Why? We make mistakes all the time. We commit sins always both knowingly and unknowingly. Without forgiveness, we live always in a jungle and in conflicts.
The most important offering in the Bible, “Peace-Offering”!
In the Bible, we have five offerings: Burnt-Offering, Grain-Offering, Peace-Offering, Sin-Offering, and Guilt-Offering. If we look at those five offerings in a chiastic structure, we can see that the Peace-Offering is at the center:
Burnt-Offering (symbolizing total commitment)
Grain-Offering (symbolizing total submission)
Peace-Offering (for Reconciliation)
Sin-Offering (restoration of the brokenness)
Guilt-Offering. (restoration of the wholeness)
The whole sacrificial system is designed to have “Peace” with God and with neighbors. For that purpose, we need to give up our selfish desires and greed and to share what we have with others. When we commit a sin, it is not enough for us to pay back the amount that we owe to the victims. We have to restore the damages that we caused in the whole universe also. Then we can have peace with God and with neighbors.
We will burn fat and share the meat!
Unlike the Burnt-Offering which requires us to burn everything, Peace-Offering requires us to burn only fat. Then the worshippers eat the meat with other worshippers to make peace. Fat is formed when we have extra calories. When we consume more than what we need, we have fat. When we burn fat, therefore, we acknowledge that we have been greedy. When we confess that our life is dedicated to God (Burnt-Offering) and everything that we have belongs to God (Grain-Offering), we are ready to give Peace-Offering.
Jesus is the Peace-Offering!
Jesus gave himself up for us as a sacrificial lamb. However, he commanded us to share his blood and flesh in the Holy Communion. He was a Burnt-Offering when he died on the Cross. When he was risen, however, he becomes a Peace-Offering that is shared at the Communion Table. When we take the Communion, we are also asked to be a peace-offering.
How can we become a peace-offering?
Here is an example. As a student at Oxford, John Wesley lived on 28 pounds. He earned 30 pounds, so he gave away 2 pounds. As his earnings increased, he continued to live on the same 28 pounds. When he earned 120 pounds, he gave away 92 pounds. In this way, John Wesley kept burning his fat and made peace-offering, using the money to promote peace on earth.
When we ask forgiveness to the victims (in other words, when we promote peace with God and with others), we need to burn our fat and share the meat! We need only daily manna. The surpluses are all fat. We all heard that one lay person in the Los Altos UMC donate 1.1 million dollars to the Imagine No Malaria Campaign. She gave a peace-offering. She did not accumulate her fat in her savings account but burned it to give peace-offering. Let us find out what our peace offering would be and give our own peace-offering to make peace on earth.
- With whom do you want to make reconciliation?
- What kind of fat would you burn to promote peace with that person (or community)?