We Africans have a native understanding of ritual sacrifices. They are still practiced today. Animals are sacrificed, even humans are sacrificed. In Nigeria, kidnappings often lead to ritual killings. From my understanding, the sacrifice usually has a purpose – to put an end to a curse, some evil or to begin a new era of prosperity for an individual or a community. It is not uncommon for first born sons to be sacrificed to the ‘gods’ of the land. We have practiced ritual sacrifices for generations and even those of us who have been disconnected from such practices for several generations still have a native understanding of it. There is a curse, blood is shed and then there is a mysterious “aversion” of the curse.
It is therefore easy to understand when I read in my bible that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins. I understand Abraham going to sacrifice his only son because I come from a people who do such things. It is also easy to understand when I read that the Creator sacrificed his only begotten Son for each and every human being, in order to put an end to a curse and begin a new era of everlasting blessing much more redemptive than the curse is evil, for anyone who accepts the sacrifice and the blood that was shed. Of this sacrifice, Matthew Henry says “The plaster is wider than the wound and more healing than the wound is killing.”
It is amazing, it is grace. The Creator sacrificed his own Son. The Creator engaged in a ritual sacrifice whereby his own son was gruesomely murdered, not just for the fun of it but in the stead of each of us. The most innocent, pure blood has been shed, the most innocent life has been sacrificed by the Creator himself and it suffices for all time, for all peoples everywhere. No other sacrifice is needed, no other ritual killing is needed, this one sacrifice can be accepted in place of any other and it supercedes all others because it is the sacrifice prepared and undertaken by the Creator himself for all mankind.
According to the document that claims to be inspired by the Creator, the angels cry “Worthy is the lamb that was slain to receive power, riches, wisdom, strength, glory, honour and blessing”, not for himself but for his creatures, us. Sacrifices are engaged in for precisely these benefits but this one sacrifice makes all others mere waste of life.
The thought of ritual sacrifice may seem archaic but these seven-fold benefits are relevant even in the 21st century and because the sacrifice is our Creator’s prescription, our civilization does not nullify it. Obviously, my premise is that there is a Creator who has reached out to us, continues to reach out to us and is eager to have a healthy relationship with us regardless of how civilized we have become.
I have accepted the Creator’s sacrifice and it is for me much more than something written in a book. It is real and I have personally experienced many of the benefits the angels cry about. I have written on this blog how I “invoked” the shed blood during a kidnapping experience in Nigeria and I lived to tell the story. It is not surprising and not necessarily a miracle, it is just invoking a superior sacrifice. I have also wriiten about other experiences that were direct results of accepting and believing in this sacrifice. I have had direct revelation of solutions to real life problems after partaking in the ritual called communion, which is essentially a reinvokation of the sacrifice. For me, this is not a religious thing, it is real.
I had to remember and invoke that sacrifice again because my wife had to go through a major, unexpected surgery late last night, for a life threatening situation. It was easy to find comfort in the fact that because of the sacrifice of God’s Son which she happened to have accepted, she will emerge unscathed and does not need to be sacrificed, neither does any other sacrifice need to be made to preserve her life. Does everyone have to accept it? Not at all. The Creator in his infinite wisdom created us to be free to say no to him, to shut him out and be fully convinced he is non existent or that the whole idea of a sacrifice is foolishness at best, if not evil. I and my family have just chosen to accept the sacrifice. It’s the best decision we have ever made.