Friday, April 1, 2011

Jay Sklar on Delighting in Leviticus

Dr. Jay Sklar was one of my favorite professors when I was a student at Covenant Theological Seminary.  I had him for a number of classes and he actually preached at my ordination.

Perhaps the highest compliment I can pay him is to let you know what he accomplished in my two semesters of Hebrew.  I know it's April Fool's Day, but I'm not kidding when I tell you that taking Hebrew from Jay was an experience that I can only describe as "devotional."  Amongst the vocabulary and the parsing and the paradigms, Jay always found a Christ-exalting way to point us to the glory and grace of God.

Jay contributed to the study notes for Leviticus in the ESV Study Bible and is currently working on a commentary on Leviticus for the Tyndale Old Testament Commentary series from IVP.  Today over at The Gospel Coalition blog, Collin Hansen interviewed Jay and shares the details in a piece entitled Daring to Delight in Leviticus.  In it we learn how to have a truly Christ-centered view of the book of Leviticus, and we get a glimpse at the joy this unlocks to us:
It’s only when we understand the sacrificial system of Leviticus that we can understand what it means that Jesus came and “made purification for sins” (Heb 1:3; cf. Lev 4). It’s only when we understand Leviticus that we can understand his atoning sacrifice wipes away every vestige of sin and impurity so powerfully that we can walk “with confidence into the holy place by the blood of Jesus” (Heb 10:19; cf. Lev 16 and esp. 10:1-3!). And it’s only when we understand Leviticus that we can understand that the sinlessness and purity and power of Jesus the Great High Priest is immeasurably beyond that of any levitical priest that ever lived (Heb 7:26-28; cf. Lev 9:7; 16:6)!
Click here and read Jay's other thoughts on such questions as why Leviticus is often difficult for us, what we must understand about Leviticus in its original context before we can apply it to our lives (as Jay had us recite before every class, "Context is King!"), and what exactly it means to preach Leviticus in proper relationship to Christ and the gospel.

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