Deuteronomy 21: Lessons on the Duties that Believers in Jesus Have Towards Each Other

Introduction. Deuteronomy chapter 21 continues God’s rules regarding what is just and right in society. Modern western views exalt privacy over group accountability. Many individuals are so fiercely private that they bristle at the notion that someone might check up on their private activities. The modern Church is no different. Churches from different denominations may reside in a community in close proximity to each other. Yet, their perceived differences prevent them from working together. God, however, requires that believers work together and be accountable to each other to ensure that the plight of the oppressed and the weak is not ignored: “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.” (1 Cor. 12:27; 12:12; 10:17; Eph. 4:12; 5:30; Ro. 12:5; Col. 2:19). In this chapter, God makes this point through seven separate examples of where the community of believers must act together to solve problems in society. First, believers must work together to address unsolved murders within their lands. God warns that the blood of unsolved crimes will cry out to Him and pollute the land. A country that fails to act together to either bring criminals to justice or to properly punish sin will eventually face God’s wrath. Second, because of mankind’s fallen nature, conflict will always exist until Christ returns. Believers therefore have a duty to work together to resolve conflicts when they arise within a community. Third, believers have a duty to work together to engage in intercessory prayer for the sins of the unsaved and the victims of injustice. Even when a nation rejects God, believers are called upon to unite and pray for the nation’s forgiveness. Fourth, when war does become necessary, believers have a duty to work together to protect the innocent. Among others, believers must ensure that women captured in battle are protected. Fifth, believers have a duty to work together to protect the weaker members of families when husbands abuse or neglect them. Believers must ensure that the rights of the children are protected from selfish or sinful parents. This also requires that parents open themselves to Church oversight. Sixth, believers have a communal duty to correct, restore, and raise children in the Lord. Parents who cannot discipline children effectively are called upon to bring wayward children to church elders for correction. Finally, believers as a whole must always protect the dignity of the accused, even when they are convicted of horrible crimes. Christ came to fulfill the Law. Yet, believers are still called upon to turn to Him in prayer to help them fulfill their duties toward others in all these matters.

1. Believers Are Called Upon to be Burdened by and Solve Unaddressed Crimes. Dt. 21:1-4.

  • Murder that is not properly punished pollutes the land. Because God is just, He required that the elders in each community work together to address any unsolved murder within the Promised Land: “If a slain person is found lying in the open country in the land which the Lord your God gives you to possess, and it is not known who has struck him, then your elders and your judges shall go out and measure the distance to the cities which are around the slain one. It shall be that the city which is nearest to the slain man, that is, the elders of that city, shall take a heifer of the herd, which has not been worked and which has not pulled in a yoke; and the elders of that city shall bring the heifer down to a valley with running water, which has not been plowed or sown, and shall break the heifer’s neck there in the valley.” (Dt. 21:1-4). The modern Church might be tempted to ignore these verses as relics of a time period when police departments did not exist. Yet, the Church still has an oversight duty to work together to ensure that crime is both adequately addressed and that sin is properly punished. Failing to protect the plight of the innocent will result in the land being polluted by innocent blood and God’s eventual judgment upon the entire nation: “So you shall not pollute the land in which you are; for blood pollutes the land and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it. ‘And you shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell; for I the Lord am dwelling in the midst of the sons of Israel.”’ (Nu. 35:33-34). As an example of this, when Cain killed his brother Abel, God told Cain that Abel’s blood had “cried out” from the land: “He said, ‘What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to Me from the ground.”’ (Gen. 4:10). As another example, God warned the shedding of a child’s innocent blood will also pollute the land: “And shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and their daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with the blood.” (Ps. 106:38). These verses suggest that believers must work together to address unsolved murders and make sure that they are properly punished. If the land is polluted, both the righteous in Christ and the unrighteous will suffer together. If the Church fails to work together to stop innocent blood from polluting the land, should it be surprised if God withholds His blessings from the nation?

  • Jesus’ fulfillment of these verses. Under the Law, the elders sacrificed a heifer in an undefiled land to atone for the blood of the innocent where a killer had not been brought to justice (Dt. 21:3). The sacrifice of a heifer was a unique sacrifice for a nation that is not listed anywhere in Leviticus. It was similar to the scapegoat released for the sins of the nation during Yom Kippur (Lev. 16:8-10). It was also similar to the red heifer sacrifice that God revealed following Korah’s rebellion “so that there will no longer be wrath on the sons of Israel.” (Nu. 18:5; 19:1-19). Today, we don’t make sin offerings because Christ’s death was a one-time sacrifice (Heb. 10:14). “For if the . . . ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of the Messiah . . .” (Heb. 9:13-14). Yet, He also will bring justice to avenge those who have been murdered where justice was not done here on Earth: “and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’” (Rev. 6:10). For He is also the avenger against evil, including unsolved crimes or crimes where justice was denied (1 Thess. 4:6). He will also bring justice to the Earth: “For I proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God! The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice.” (Dt. 32:3-4). “With righteousness, He will judge the needy, with justice He will give decisions for the poor of the earth.” (Is. 11:4). Jesus can forgive the sins of a country, but He may not act if the Church does not unite in prayer.

Jesus paid the price for all our sins1

  • Duties of a believer to carry a burden. Believers should still pray and petition Christ for the nation to repent and be forgiven. Christ also expects every believer to seek to resolve injustice around them. “do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8). “[L]earn to do good, seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, [and] plead for the widow.” (Is. 1:17). On the Day of Judgment, Jesus will ask what each person did for the oppressed and needy (Matt. 25:40). If you trust God, He will direct you where to address injustice in society (Ps. 119:105; Jam. 1:27). Are you burdened by the deaths of innocent people? Are you and your church praying for the nation to repent and turn back to God? Do you and your church stand against any type of injustice in society or the deaths of the innocent, including those who die in abortions?

2. Believers Have a Duty to Work Together to be Peacemakers. Dt. 21:5.

  • God’s priests are called upon to be peacemakers. In addition to administering the animal sacrifices, providing cities of refuge, trials for the accused, and acting as judges, the Levite priests also had to work together to help resolve potential disputes between tribes: “5 Then the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come near, for the Lord your God has chosen them to serve Him and to bless in the name of the Lord; and every dispute and every assault shall be settled by them.” (Dt. 21:5). These verses also suggest that the Church has a duty to work together to resolve community disputes. Is your church only focused on its own flock? Or, is it working with other churches in the community to resolve disputes?

  • Jesus’ fulfillment of these verses. Jesus is the fulfillment of these verses. He is our High Priest (Heb. 3:1; 4:14; 6:20). He is our counselor (Is. 9:6). He is also our mediator (1 Tim. 2:5). He also can bring peace in any conflict: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (Jo. 16:33). He also comes to bring peace to the nations. “And He will speak peace to the nations; and His dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.” (Zech. 9:10). Are you and your church praying together for Christ to bring peace to the conflicts around you?

  • Duties of believers that remain today. These verses were directed to the Levites because they served as God’s priests at that time. Today, any believer in Christ assumes this duty as part of His “royal priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:9). If you make peace with others around you, God promises to bless you: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matt. 5:9). “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” (Ro. 12:18). “Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” (Mk. 9:50). Are you and your church peacemakers to those in conflict around you? Or, do you ignore disputes within the community?

3. Believers Have a Duty to Work Together to be Prayer Intercessors for Others. Dt. 21:6-9.

  • The priests’ duty to atone for the sins of other people. It was not enough for the priests to investigate unsolved murders. They also had to work together to purify the land of any sins created by others: “All the elders of that city which is nearest to the slain man shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley; and they shall answer and say, ‘Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it. Forgive Your people Israel whom You have redeemed, O Lord, and do not place he guilt of innocent blood in the midst of Your people Israel.’ And the bloodguiltiness shall be forgiven them. So you shall remove the guilt of innocent blood from your midst, when you do what is right in the eyes of the Lord.” (Dt. 21:6-9). Washing with water was a symbol of cleansing sin (Lev. 1:9). The water used for washing foreshadows the Holy Spirit (cf., Ez. 36:25-27). When Peter asked Jesus to wash his feet, hands, and head, Jesus responded: “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet.” (Jo. 13:10). Christ died once for our sins. But our flesh must still be washed. Like you, your country must also be washed clean of its sins. And it is the Word that washes and exposes sins (Eph. 5:26). Are you praying the Word over the nation?

  • Jesus’ fulfillment of these verses. Isaiah predicted that the Messiah would “sprinkle many nations.” (Is. 52:15). Christ’s blood has sprinkled the nations by offering the chance for forgiveness of sins to any sinner in any nation on Earth (Jo. 3:16). He is also our advocate (1 Jo. 2:1). He is also our intercessor (Ro. 8:26-27, 34; Heb. 7:25). He alone can bring forgiveness for a city and country’s sins. Yet, can we expect Him to forgive the sins of the country if the Church does not work together to pray for repentance and forgiveness?

  • Duties of believers that remain today - intercessory prayer. God spared the Jewish nation in response to Moses’ prayers after they made the golden calf (Ex. 32:11-14). He again spared the Jews in response to Moses’ prayer after they rebelled at the edge of the Promised Land (Nu. 14:18-22). He spared the Jews in response to the prayers of Moses and Aaron after Korah, 250 men of renown, and then the 14,700 rebelled (Nu. 16:21-24). One of Christ’s last seven statements before His death was the following prayer: “Father forgive them for they known not what they do.” (Lk. 23:34). As part of God’s priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6), He has also given the Church the power of intercessory prayer to pray and fast in Christ’s name for the nations to repent and be forgiven. Are you and your Church using that power of prayer? Are you praying for the terrorists, the murders, the gangs, the drug dealers, and the West’s rebellious nations? Did God give you a power so that you could ignore it? Are you not praying for these things because you lack the faith to believe that God will respond? Or, do you feel that these people should not be forgiven?

4. Believers Have a Duty as a Whole to Protect the Innocent in Warfare. Dt. 21:10-14.

  • God’s prohibition against soldiers raping captured women in battle. War is another example where believers need to act together to protect the innocent and oppressed. Rape has been a sad part of war since wars have existed. Yet, God warned the Jews that they were never to rape a captured women in battle. The priests had a duty to ensure that captured women were treated with dignity. If a captured woman wished to be with a Jewish soldier, she needed to first mourn her family for a month and then shed her prior identity and pagan beliefs (symbolized by shaving her head). Then, it was her option to decide if she wanted to marry the Jewish soldier: “10 When you go out to battle against your enemies, and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take them away captive, 11 and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire for her and would take her as a wife for yourself, 12 then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails. 13 She shall also remove the clothes of her captivity and shall remain in your house, and mourn her father and mother a full month; and after that you may go in to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14 It shall be, if you are not pleased with her, then you shall let her go wherever she wishes; but you shall certainly not sell her for money, you shall not mistreat her, because you have humbled her.” (Dt. 21:10-14). By Jewish tradition, the shaving of the head was also meant to discourage a Jewish soldier from casually marrying a captured woman. Her shaved head would diminish any desires to marry out of lust. The Jews also used these verses to argue against hasty marriages. Although these verses are not followed in the same manner today, our laws today prohibit soldiers from raping captured civilians or soldiers.

  • Jesus’ fulfillment of these verses. The devil is the ruler of the world (Jo. 12:31; 14:30). We were all once slaves to his sin (Ro. 6:17, 20). With Jesus’ death, each person has been given the opportunity to be freed from the devil (Ro. 6:18). Each person has also been given the chance to become part of the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:25-27; 2 Cor. 11:2; Rev. 19:7-9; 21:1-2). Yet, each person is also free to reject Christ’s offer. Many are called, but few are chosen because they will choose the world (Matt. 22:14). Unlike the sad captured woman with their head shaven in humility, many will prefer the vanity of their old lives.

  • Application for believers: cleanse your life of pride to prepare for your marriage to Christ. The loss of hair symbolizes humility. Jesus, for example, had His hair plucked (Isa. 3:24; 50:6; Jer. 7:29). A Nazarite could not cut his hair during his time of separation (Nu. 6:5). The priests had a similar rule, which prohibited them from shaving their heads while mourning (Lev. 21:5). The priests were also told to use a razor to shave their whole body (Nu. 8:7; Lev. 14:9). Likewise, “Christ did not glorify Himself to be a high priest . . .” (Heb. 5:5). He instead emptied Himself and made Himself a man of no reputation (Phil. 2:6-8). After you accept Christ, you must also shave out of your life both vanity and your pride. Are you doing things for your own glory and recognition or for Christ’s glory?

5. Believers Have a Duty to Protect Family Members in Need of Protection. Dt. 21:15-17.

  • God’s warning to protect unloved children when families merge together. As another component of a community’s duty to protect its members, society had a duty to intervene in family affairs if a husband shows favoritism in a merged family or a family where the kids have more than one mother: “15 If a man has two wives, the one loved and the other unloved, and both the loved and the unloved have borne him sons, if the firstborn son belongs to the unloved, 16 then it shall be in the day he wills what he has to his sons, he cannot make the son of the loved the firstborn before the son of the unloved, who is the firstborn. 17 But he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; to him belongs the right of the firstborn.” (Dt. 21:15-17). Like divorce, polygamy was something that God tolerated out of the hardness of the people’s hearts (Matt. 19:8; Mk. 10:5). It was not something that He condoned. To warn people against polygamy, God gave multiple warnings in the Bible:

  • Abram’s polygamy. Abram’s marriage suffered after he had his son Ishmael with Sarai’s servant Hagar (Gen 16:3-5). He also had to wait 13 years before God spoke with him again. More importantly, the world is also still struggling today from this union through the Arab Israeli conflict (Hos. 8:7; Gal. 4:22-24). Israel as the child of faith received the double spiritual blessing. Yet, Ishmael as the child of the flesh received the double of the flesh through the larger lands given to the Muslims.

  • Jacob’s polygamy. Polygamy also caused conflict within Jacob’s marriage. It was against God’s Law for Jacob to marry both Leah and her sister Rachel (Lev. 18:18). Yet, he did so anyway because of his lust for Rachel. Jealousy was one of the fruits of this unholy union. While Leah had children, Rachel’s jealousy drove her to feel that she would die unless she had a child (Gen. 30:1). Jealousy eventually drove her to have Jacob sleep with her servant Bilhah (Gen. 30:1-6). Jealousy in turn drove Leah to have Jacob sleep with her servant Zilpah to increase the number of her kids. She did this even though she already had four sons, and she had only had one year after their marriage without a pregnancy (Gen. 30:9-10). Leah’s children’s jealousy over Jacob’s love for Rachel’s children later drove Reuben to defile Rachael’s maid servant Bilhah (Gen. 35:22). Reuben was Jacob’s oldest son (Gen. 29:30-31). He was entitled to a double blessing as the firstborn (Dt. 21:15-17). Yet, Reuben’s actions caused him and his future generations to lose their firstborn status (Gen. 49:3-4; 1 Chron. 5:1-2). Some of his bitter descendants, including Dathan, Abiram, and On, from the tribe of Reuben, “took action” in a rebellion led by Korah the worship leader against Moses (Nu. 16:1). They joined in Korah’s rebellion against Moses in an attempt to regain power. Jealousy later drove ten boys to sell Joseph into slavery because Joseph was one of two sons of Rachel whom Jacob loved more than them (Gen. 37:18-36). All of these Old Testament accounts establish that there can be no family peace when a man has two wives or a wife and a mistress (Dt. 21:15-17). In the modern world, merged families or families with half siblings are common. Favoritism within these families remains a problem. It also requires active Church oversight of family members to prevent it.

  • Jesus’ fulfillment of these verses. Jesus was the “firstborn” or preeminent one over all creation (Col. 1:15). He was born a Jew. Yet, the Jews rejected Him and showed favoritism to the persons of the flesh. After His sentence, the Jews chose Barabbas over Jesus: “So they cried out again, saying, ‘Not this Man, but Barabbas.’ Now Barabbas was a robber.” (Jo. 18:4). “But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,” (Acts 3:14). Jesus, however, also restores injustice for all those who have been mistreated within their earthly families. He offers a chance for each person to be grafted into God’s righteous family as an adopted child (Ro. 8:14-17). Through Jesus, a child can also escape the effects of a parent’s sins (Ezek. 18:19-21).

  • Application for believers today: Submit your parenting practices to Church oversight. Most believers can understand why their own sinful behavior can cause them to suffer. Yet, God also warns that a parent’s sins can also cause their kids to suffer (Jer. 16:10-13; Ex. 34:6-7). Examples include alcoholism, adultery, abuse, and being a workaholic. The verses above also show that favoritism can hurt kids where half siblings exist through multiple parents. God warns that those who cause trouble within their homes will have no peace: “He who troubles his own house will inherit wind . . .” (Prov. 11:29). Are you submitting your parenting practices to oversight and accountability? Is your Church taking any steps to ensure that you are parenting properly and that the rights of the children are protected?

6. Believers Have a Duty as a Whole to Correct and Restore Rebellious Children. Dt. 21:18-21

  • It takes a village to raise a child. The oversight duties of the Church are not limited to parents. The Church as a whole has a duty to ensure that wayward children are corrected and restored to a rightful walk with God. When a child refuses to submit to a parent’s Spirit-led discipline, God’s remedy is for the parent to bring the child to the elders to have them discipline the child. The elders would use the threat of severe punishment to try to correct and restore a child who refused to submit to parental authority: “18 If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, 19 then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his hometown. 20 They shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21 Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel will hear of it and fear.” (Dt. 21:18-21). “He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.” (Ex. 21:15). “He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.” (Ex. 21:17; Prov. 30:17). According to Jewish interpretative guidance, these penalties existed only as a deterrent. They were never actually enforced. According to the Talmud, “There never has been a case of a ‘stubborn and rebellious son’ brought to trial and never will be.” (b. Sanhedrin 71a). Only by mercy and grace were these laws not enforced. Yet, this remains God’s Law when non-believers are judged in heaven before the Great White Throne Hall (Rev. 20:11-15). There are many examples in the Bible of parents who failed to discipline their children with disastrous results. In each case, there was no person or body of church elders correcting either the parent or the children.

  • Jacob’s failure to discipline his children. Jacob failed to discipline his children. After his daughter Dinah was raped, Jacob allowed his sons to negotiate with the Canaanite father of the rapist. Jacob then did nothing as the sons slaughtered a Canaanite village in retaliation (Gen. 34). Jacob might have taught his children differently if he were in a Spirit-led accountability relationship.

  • David’s failure to discipline his children. David also failed to discipline his children. He failed to discipline his son Amnon after he raped his half-sister Tamar (2 Sam. 13:1-8). Besides a temporary exile, he failed to discipline his son Absalom when he avenged his sister by killing Amnon (2 Sam. 13:23-39). Because his children failed to respect him and because David failed to discipline them, his son Absalom led a rebellion against him (2 Sam. 15:1-12). Likewise, his son Adonijah tried to seize power. Solomon later killed Adonijah for his actions (1 Ki. 2:13-25). As king, David also did not submit his parenting practices to anyone for scrutiny. Imagine how his kingdom might have turned out differently if the priests had helped in correcting and building up David’s kids.

  • Jesus’ fulfillment of these verses. As God’s children, we have all rebelled against Him. We are all deserving of death (Ro. 6:23). To atone for us, Christ was the obedient son who died so that God’s other adopted children could be given eternal life (1 Jo. 2:1). Have you given thanks for being spared God’s penalty for your rebellions?

  • Application for believers today - respect your parents. Even though you are saved from the consequences of sin through Jesus, God still commands you to submit to Spirit-led parental authority: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” (Ep. 6:1). “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (Jo. 14:15, 21; 1 Jo. 5:3; 2 Jo. 1:6; Jo. 15:10; Matt. 19:17; 1 Jo. 2:3). This includes honoring your earthly mother and father. “Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.” (Col 3:20). “A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish man despises his mother.” (Prov. 15:20; 10:1; 17:21, 25). “A foolish son is destruction to his father, and the contentions of a wife are a constant dripping.” (Prov. 19:13). Respect for one’s parents is also God’s Fifth Commandment. If you honor your parents, God will prolong your life: “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the LORD your God gives you.” (Dt. 5:16; Ex. 20:12). Parents must also discipline their children only out of love. “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4). “He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.” (Prov. 13:24). Finally, parents must be accountable to their church in how they discipline children. Does your church take any interest in overseeing what happens within your home? If not, it is not following God’s Law.

  • God gives parents rights on the assumption that they will teach God’s Law. God has given parents authority as His stewards because He expects them to teach His Law to their children (Dt. 4:9-10). “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” (Dt. 6:7; 11:19; 31:12-13; Prov. 22:6; 78:4-6). Do you teach your children God’s Law? Have you raised your kids in a manner deserving of the honor God has given you? Is your church giving you any guidance on what you should be teaching your kids?

7. Believers Have a Duty as a Whole to Protect the Dignity of the Accused. Dt. 21:22-23.

  • God’s prohibition against humiliating the accused and dishonoring the dead. Finally, the duties of the community of believers include protecting the rights of people whom no one else would want to protect, those convicted of serious crimes. The Romans did not respect the convicted. They regularly hung convicted criminals for days at a time as a warning to others. Yet, that practice was prohibited under God’s Law: “22 If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance.” (Dt. 21:22-23). We see a modern fulfillment of these verses in the laws of war, which prohibit the public humiliation of captured soldiers. We also see a modern application of this rule in the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. During the second Iraq War, Iraqi rebels hung captured Americans from a bridge for days until the Americans retook the city and were able to cut the bodies down. The scenes horrified people everywhere because it violated the Law written in our hearts (Ro. 2:15).

Jesus fulfilled the curse under the Law for our sins2

  • Jesus’ fulfillment of these verses. Christ fulfilled these verses by assuming the curse that would have fallen upon every believer under the Law: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us-- for it is written, ‘cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.”’ (Gal. 3:13). “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21). “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,” (Ro. 8:3). Yet, Joseph of Arimathea sought to keep this commandment by asking Pilot to remove Jesus’ body so that it would not hang during the Sabbath (Mk. 15:43; Jo. 19:31). Have you honored Christ with your life for what He did for you?

  • Application for believers today. Jesus bought you by paying the ultimate price for your sins (1 Cor. 6:20). You can honor His sacrifice by staying holy: “because it is written, ‘you shall be holy, for I am holy.’’ (1 Pet. 1:16; Lev. 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:7). You can also make your life a living sacrifice to God: “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Ro. 12:1). How are you honoring Christ’s sacrifice with your life?