The Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur, is considered to be the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. It is a day that bring much anxiety and anticipation for it is on this day that it is believed all sins for the previous year are wiped away. Yom Kippur comes at the end of what is referred to as the 10 days of Awe. During this time there is supposed to be sincere and devout reflection and repentance culminating in the day of cleansing or atonement. When we look in the books of Exodus and Leviticus and read about this feast, it gives us a beautiful picture of our need to be made clean. The process was quite extensive for the priests and the people. So much was wrapped up in this day, and for many, it is still is.
For believers in Jesus, Yom Kippur is every bit as significant and a powerful reminder of what Jesus did for you and me on the cross. Because of the grace of Christ, we are clean. Because of the grace of Christ, we no longer need to wait in anxiety for a future day of atonement. Because of the grace of Christ, we are free. But the grace of Christ should not lead us to forgo repentance, it should give us the desire to do it all the more. When I see my failures and shortcomings in light of the perfection of Christ, and then grip the reality that this perfection hung on a cross in my place and suffered tremendous pain for me, how could I help but to fall to my knees in awe, gratitude, and repentance? We are all broken, but have been made whole through Jesus. We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but because of the grace of Christ, we can taste and experience that glory. Because of the grace of Christ we can repent and have full assurance that we are forgiven.
“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”Isaiah 53:4-6
Today, we repent and we rejoice. Thank you Jesus for all you’ve done and all you still do. Peace in Christ brothers and sisters.