Peace Lutheran Church Sussex, Wisconsin

Congregation at Prayer: September 17, 2023

The Catechism: The Ten Commandments—Seventh and Eighth Commandment

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Catechesis Notes for the Week — Atonement to Cover Sin — The Day of Atonement was among the most important days in the Old Testament Church Year. Atonement is payment for sin. On the Day of Atonement, the sins of the congregation were imputed to the “scapegoat” which was then driven out into the wilderness. John the Baptist connected this to Jesus who, at His Baptism, was designated the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Following this the High Priest took the blood of atonement and went into the Holy of Holies to offer the blood upon the mercy seat in payment for the sins of the people. He then went out to the congregation and sprinkled them with the blood and water of atonement for the forgiveness of their sins. This action found its fulfillment in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice upon the cross. Blood and water flowed forth from His side after He was offered up in death upon the altar of the cross. In Holy Baptism, the water and blood of Jesus covers our sin and declares us righteous. The remaining Old Testament stories for this week highlight the ministry of the Levitical priesthood which find its fulfillment in Jesus’ priesthood. By the Second Passover after Israel had left Egypt, the Old Testament worship life was established. It taught them the pervasiveness of sin, the need for the sacrifice of blood to pay for that sin, the need for a substitute to be offered up in their place, and the need for a priest who would intercede for them in the sacrifices, prayers, and teaching that they needed. Jesus is all of this for us. He is both the High Priest and the sacrifice that makes atonement for sin. He continually intercedes for us in prayer on the basis of His sacrifice. He is also our teacher who, by the preaching of His Word, instructs us throughout our earthly pilgrimage that we might faithfully live the joyful life of daily contrition and repentance.