i think the thing that some people miss - the thing that i missed for a long time - is how the whole Bible is about Jesus. sure, you might think, duh, of course. but did you figure this out on your own? did you just read it and go, "oh, yeah, just like Jesus. that lamb is just like Jesus. i'm seven and i know what propitiation means."
if you were in a typical sunday school class with flannel characters on a flannel board, you may not have. you got the highlights, the big stories. oh yeah, i know about noah. i can sing you a song about his arky arky. that is a "big sunday school story." but sometimes, Jesus is in the tiniest little sentence and you don't even notice Him until someone points Him out. in reality, the big story is Jesus.
so i want to write about the tiny sentence that is genesis 3:21.
in genesis 1 and 2, you can read all about creation. you know the story - it's one of those big ones. God creates man (male and female). they are naked, and it's not a problem because there is no sin or shame. and then He says, "behold, i have given you every plant...and every tree...you shall have them as food." He also says that He has given the plants for every animal to eat.
now, i love steak as much as the next girl (who hunts deer and believes it is totally good to legally kill and eat if you want to - acts 10:13). but in the beginning, there was no death. no matter how crabby you get about deer hunters, something has to die for you to eat that cheeseburger, chicken breast, or fried fish. with no death, there is no meat eating, so they ate plants.
but then there was the fall. you know that story too. the sneaky satan snake got eve to take a bite of that fruit (which i personally think MUST have been more exotic than just an apple), and then adam ate it too. the problem was that the fruit was from the only tree that God had forbidden them to eat from (or even touch), the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
and then adam and eve were aware of and ashamed of their nakedness, and they made themselves clothes out of leaves. i would imagine that leaf clothing is not comfortable or durable. needless to say, the probably crude clothing that adam and eve made to cover their shame was very temporary, would quickly become brittle, and then would probably fall apart easily.
God came and found them and told them the results of their actions. life was no longer perfect because sin had entered the world.
and the LORD God made for adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
skins were not listed in the creation story. skins were not created separately from animals. in order to help cover the shame of adam and eve, God sacrificed the life of an animal - maybe two. death was now in the world.
we cannot cover our own sin and shame. we can make all the leaf outfits we want from our own works, from our own efforts, and in the end these are fleeting, temporary, never good enough. we cannot do anything to undo or make right our sins. we cannot cover our shame.
but just as God made a sacrifice to cover the nakedness of adam and eve, God sacrificed Jesus to cover our sin and shame. Jesus is our perfect Savior, the Son of God who lived a perfect life and gave up His own life on the cross so that we can be saved, to cover our sin and shame with His blood. (that's propitiation: the sacrifice of Jesus takes the place of our punishment and reconciles us with God, even though we are sinners. if you didn't already look it up, that is.)