What was a sacrifice in the Bible? Why did people have to do it?
Here's the answer:
The word "sacrifice" in the Bible generally means giving up or losing something, sometimes because we did something wrong.
Anytime we do something that’s wrong—things like stealing, lying, cheating, hitting someone—we are disobeying God’s rules. It hurts God. God tells us in the Bible that everyone has sinned (Romans 3:23). God wants us to live in heaven with Him forever and be his friend, but God is perfect. We can’t be with God if we’ve done something wrong.
In the Old Testament, God told the people to sacrifice a perfect, innocent animal (usually a sheep or goat) in order to find forgiveness for their disobedience to God. They did this because the blood of the sacrifice would cover their sins for a little while. But it wouldn’t last forever, so they had to sacrifice animals over and over for forgiveness.
But we don’t need to do that anymore. Do you know why? It’s because Jesus came to earth and died on the cross as the last sacrifice anyone will ever need! His blood covers all of our sins. And because Jesus came back to life again, all we need to do is invite Him into our life and heart and ask Him to forgive us. John 3:16 says, "God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life."
Jesus was perfect, so He was the only one who could be punished for our sin. We don’t need to sacrifice animals anymore, because Jesus took care of that.
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"...the law requires that nearly everything be made clean with blood. Without the spilling of blood, no one can be forgiven" (Hebrews 9:22).
"He [Jesus] isn’t like the other high priests. They need to offer sacrifices day after day. First they bring offerings for their own sins. Then they do it for the sins of the people. But Jesus gave one sacrifice for the sins of the people. He gave it once and for all time. He did it by offering himself" (Hebrews 7:27).