The peace offering seems to be the pinnacle of the offerings. Be sure to read Leviticus 7:11-18 as well with this chapter because it gives us an important clue about this offering: The offering, at least part of it, was meant to be eaten by the people. They were to make a meal of it.
The idea of “peace” with God is something we are familiar with as Christians. This peace is the result of the blood of Christ. “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
To have peace with someone means that all is right between you and him or her. When I have peace with my wife, Mary, I know she’s happy with me, and I’m happy with her. There’s nothing left to do but be happy about it and to live our lives together in harmony.
So the Israelites were to offer peace offerings to God. And this brings up an interesting point. Relationships require something of both sides of the relationship. If one person does all the giving, there’s not much of a relationship there. Things can get strained pretty quickly.
If you are really invested in a friendship, you will pick up the phone and call your friend from time to time. You think about that person. You will give that person gifts. You will seek to meet your friend’s needs.
God, of course, does not need anything. He’s the giver of all good gifts. We can’t out-give our Friend. But God also is pleased to see his people giving themselves over to him in faith. This is the peace offering.
And it results in a celebration. Our sins have been atoned, and we have life because of God. We can enter into his presence because he has provided a way for us to do so. This is what the Israelites lived out through the sacrificial system.
And then they would eat of their peace offerings in the presence of God. It really was a celebration. To eat a meal together is to celebrate together.
The fat and the blood were not to be eaten – blood because of its association with atonement and fat because it symbolized the best of something, which belongs wholly to God.
When we dig into this chapter as Christians, we find the Lord’s Supper. At least that’s what I found. The peace offering given “without blemish” can only be Christ. And we eat of this together when we gather as a church.
As we eat, we “remember” what brought us into peace with God (1 Corinthians 11:24-25). We celebrate. We eat with joy and thanksgiving.
So these first three chapters of Leviticus point us to Jesus. Jesus is our substitute who brings us atonement for our sins (Leviticus 1). We offer ourselves to God in gratitude for his gifts to us and in commitment to his covenant (Leviticus 2). And we celebrate the peace we have with God because of Christ in the Lord’s Supper (Leviticus 3).
I am sure I’ve missed some things in this interpretation, but I am settled with the basic truths and applications that we’ve found here. The Book of Leviticus – the book no one wants to read – does have much fruit for our lives in Christ, if we will spend some time looking.