Lately I have been trying to wrap my brian around this question…
If God (Yahweh) does not accept human sacrifices, how could Jesus’ sacrifice be an acceptable payment for our sins?
In Deuteronomy 12:31 & 18:10, Yahweh states that he is different than all the other pagan gods and will not accept human sacrifices. All the other pagan nations that surrounded the Israelites practiced human & child sacrifice as part of their worship. Yahweh declared that such “worship” was detestable to him and that he hates it (Deuteronomy 12:31; 18:10). It’s appropriate to understand human sacrifice is associated in the Old Testament with evil practices such as sorcery and divination, which are also detestable to God (2 Kings 21:6). Abraham was never in danger of losing Isaac and Jephthah due to his ignorance, sacrificed his daughter to Yahweh–talk about a sacrificers remorse >.<
So, if God (Yahweh) detests human sacrifices, how could Christ’s sacrifice on the cross be acceptable as sufficient payment for our sins?
“There is no doubt that a sacrifice for sin was necessary if people are to have any hope of eternal life. God established the necessity of the shedding of blood to cover sin (Hebrews 9:22). In fact, God Himself performed the very first animal sacrifice to cover, temporarily, the sin of Adam and Eve. After He pronounced curses upon the first couple, He killed an animal, shedding its blood, and made from it a covering for Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21), thereby instituting the principle of animal sacrifice for sin.” -Chuck Swindoll
Yahweh gave Moses a crap load of laws and in those laws there were instructions on how, when, and under what circumstances animal sacrifices were to be offered to him. This was how it was until Christ’s sacrifice made animal sacrifice no longer necessary.
“But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Hebrews 10:3–4).
So why does Christ’s sacrifice not violate those laws?
Well for one, Jesus was not just a human; because if he were his sacrifice would have also been a temporary one because one human life couldn’t possibly cover the sins of the multitudes who ever existed. One finite human life could never atone for sin against an infinite God. A sufficient sacrifice must be an infinite one, which means only Yahweh himself could atone for the sins of mankind. Only Yahweh himself, an infinite being, could pay the penalty owed to himself (mind bending I know). This is why God had to become a man and dwell among men (John 1:14). No other sacrifice would suffice.
Also, Yahweh did not sacrifice Jesus. Rather, Jesus, as God incarnated, sacrificed himself on his own accord. He gave his life willingly, as he said:
“No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again” (John 10:18).
(We may often read this scripture as Jesus referring to man and their inability to take away his life, but it is also in reference to the Father. Jesus was drawing a distinction between the Father’s will and his obedience. For it was only through his obedience that he was able to remain sinless therefore, being able to qualify as a sufficient sacrifice).
So even in the garden when Jesus seems to protest the will of the Father “not my will, but yours be done”. It may seem as if Jesus’ arm is being twisted to go to the cross. However, just as we humans need to be taught obedience, Jesus had to learn it as well. His obedience was a direct reflection of his trust in the Father.
Jesus went to the cross out of obedience and his desire to please the Father in all that he did.
Jesus did not go to the cross thinking “I’m doing this for people!” no he went thinking “I am doing this out of obedience for the Father” (We need to correct this faulty theolgy in the church). The main mission of Jesus was obedience to the Father. For it was through the incarnation of Jesus that we are able to see the Father. “If you have seen me you have seen the Father. So do not say ‘show us the Father’ for when you say that it seems like I haven’t taught you anything,” (John 14:8-14, PJV)
Jesus sacrificed himself to the Father and fulfilled all the requirements of the Deuteronomy laws. Only he (being fully God and fully man) could do that. However, even after all this amazing stuff…everything hinged on the resurrection. Without the resurrection Jesus would have been just another “cool dude” who did miracles (pretty common in those days) and was executed for making false claims (another thing that was pretty common in those days).
Jesus’ divinity alone, disqualified him from being rendered merely as a human sacrifice. His willingness to offer himself to pay the debt of wrath that was owed by humanity in addition to his complete obedience, simply put; Jesus made the Father “an offer that he could not refuse”.