Biblical Sacrifice ~ Why? {Object Lesson}

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Biblical Sacrifice


  • To review the purpose of the Old Testament and the sacrificial system
  • To list events of animal sacrifice
  • To describe how Jesus is the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world

Materials: Inductive Bible Study Form; a stuffed sheep; use some of the pictures from Draw the Bible to review Old Testament events if desired

Geography: Israel

Background: Throughout the centuries, millions of sheep, goats, and bulls have died. They were killed with the sole purpose of taking the sins off the people. It was required by God’s Law, but now it is not. How come?

Main Events of Biblical Sacrifice:

{Hold up the sheep.} What is this? [a sheep] Do you know why sheep are so important in the Bible? [Allow answers]

Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. Ever since then there has been a sin problem that does not allow us to be friends with God. There is nothing we can do to fix the sin problem. Only God can. And it is because of sin that people deserve to die. “For the wages of sin is DEATH.” To fix the sin problem, something has to die.

When God spoke with Abraham, He told him He would make of him a great nation and that all the families in the world would be blessed. And one day God told Abraham to take his son to the top of a mountain and sacrifice him, kill him, for God. I cannot imagine what thoughts went through that father’s mind, but Abraham trusted the Lord. He took Isaac, bound his hands, placed him on the altar and raised the knife. “Stop, Abraham!” exclaimed God. And Abraham looked around and found a ram, a sheep, with its horns stuck in the briars. {Hold up the sheep.} Abraham sacrificed, or killed, the ram instead of his son. The sheep took the place of Isaac.

Fast forward a few hundred years. After Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, God gave the law to His people. Most people know about the 10 Commandments, but God gave other instructions as well. He wanted to be SURE that HIS people were different from all other nations. He wanted them to be His friends. BUT they had a sin problem. Therefore, God gave the people instructions for building a tabernacle, and rules for how to be friends with God and deal with the problem of sin.

Remember the ram that took Isaac’s place? That was what He had the Israelites do. They had to get rid of the sin. The people would bring their best bulls, sheep, goats, or doves to the priests. The priest would have the people place their hands on the animals showing that the sin from the people was being transferred to the animals. Then the people, not the priest, would slit the throats of the sacrifices. The animals died. In God’s eyes, the person deserved death because of his sin, but instead, the animal took the sins and died in the person’s place.

Fast forward a few more hundred years. Thousands and thousands of animals had been killed and used as sacrifices for the sins of people. And then one day there was a man baptizing people in the Jordan River. John looked up and saw his cousin come down to the water to be baptized and he yelled out, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!!”

Whoa! Wait a minute!! “The Lamb….who takes away sin.”

This was something the people had never heard of before. They knew they had to go to the temple and kill their own bulls or sheep. And this John was saying a MAN was a LAMB? and one who takes away sin?

Application of Biblical Sacrifice:

That MAN was JESUS, God’s perfect and only Son. We are sinful people. Something must take our place between us and God. We deserve death, therefore whatever goes between us must die. Pretend with me…what if all the people who ever lived put their hands upon Jesus {Hold up the sheep and allow those closest to you to put their hands on the sheep.} and all of their sins went onto Jesus instead of us? That’s what happened. Jesus took our place. HE died instead of us. HE took our punishment instead of us.

What type of bulls, sheep, goats, or doves did the people have to sacrifice? {Their best, or the first born} God did the same thing. He used His best, His only Son to die in our place. This is called substitutionary atonement. Those are some “churchy” words, but they mean some Thing, or Person, took our place so we can be “at one” with God. If we believe that God did this, that Jesus died for our sins, your sins and my sins, and confess Jesus as our Lord and Master, then God doesn’t see our sin, but the blood of Jesus.

Jesus died for all, but it’s only when we believe that He did that we can become friends with God. And THAT is why we do not go to the temple and sacrifice animals. Jesus is the sacrifice, once and for all.

Other Activities and Resources for Biblical Sacrifice:

Sacrifice from  Jewish Perspective



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