"What of the Deformed?"

BIBLE READING: Leviticus 22-23
DISCUSSION                                             
      Chapters like 22 and many others in this book form the background to much New Testament teaching.  Christ is both the perfect priest and the perfect victim.  His bride is the church, whom he is sanctifying to make her "without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish" (Ephesians 5:27). 
     We see here that the demand for holiness is common to both testaments.  The New sees it primarily in moral terms, however, and insists that true holiness can be achieved only through redemption, not by nature.  This redemption includes those with physical deformities; to Christ's marriage feast are invited the maimed, the lame, and the blind (Luke 14:13, 21). 
     All Christians are called to be priests in a figurative sense (1 Peter 2:5, 9).  They are to put love of God above love for family (Luke 14:26).  The high priest was not allowed to defile himself by burying his father and mother (21:11).  In a similar vein, Jesus challenged a reluctant disciple with the words, "follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead (Matthew 8:21-22).
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