fbpx

Cutting Room Floor

One of the most difficult and painful tasks for any well-studied sermon is to condense the material that is most important, relevant and valuable to the audience. Oftentimes, a good deal of good material is left on the preacher’s cutting room floor. Luckily, some of that material has found a place here.

At The Pastor’s Cutting Room Floor, you’ll find a number of things that don’t make it into the sermon, for a variety of reasons: there wasn’t enough time, the point was too small to make, the point was too technical to make, the issue is better dealt with out of the pulpit, etc.

Welcome to the stuff that didn’t make it. I pray it challenges you to deepen your understanding of God’s Word and to ultimately know Him better.

Hebrews 1:3 – Christ on the Throne: Davidic or Priestly?

Hebrews 1:1-4 opens with a magisterial statement about the Son of God—Jesus Christ.  It provides seven statements about Jesus in a series of doctrinally-rich phrases.  One of those statements reads: “After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (1:3b; all verses here in ESV). The question here: does this sitting down next to the Father relate primarily to Jesus’s priestly role, or does it relate to the fulfillment of the Davidic…

Proverbs – A Few Good Things

Every good sermon leaves good things on the cutting room floor… hence this weekly blog!  This week I examined a “few good things” from the book of Proverbs – passages that used the word “good” (Hebrew: tov) to describe one thing or the other. But alas!  There were too many “good” verses in Proverbs for me to handle in a single sermon.  Here are five bonus “good” verses that might edify you today and a few words about why I…

Leviticus 27 – The Value of Male and Female, Young and Old

Most of Leviticus 27 deals with taking back vows.  To vow a person, object or place to God was a serious commitment in Bible times.  To take back a vow once it was committed was allowable, but costly. Leviticus 27:1-8 overviews the valuation of vows that dealt with people.  Here’s the chart I put on the screen during the sermon: AGE 1 m. – 5 yrs. 5-20 yrs. 20-60 yrs. 60+ yrs. MALE 5 shekels 20 shekels 50 shekels 15…

Leviticus 26 – Idols, Idols, Idols (Idols, Idols)

Leviticus 26 provides rich sources of further study. Immediately the “sister chapter” Deuteronomy 28 comes to mind for parallel texts. Also, the book of Ezekiel provides much overlap with the curses in Lev 26. We can also compare other Ancient Near Eastern law codes—such as that of Hammurabi—to help further our understanding of how covenants blessed and cursed. But what caught my attention most of all were the many words used in Lev 26 used for the concept of idolatry. The chapter begins, “You…

Leviticus 25b – Jubilee in Acts?

During the Year of Jubilee, the Israelites celebrated the release of slaves, the forgiveness of debt and the return to tribal land.  Property sold due to poverty was restored to its original owner and the land had another year of rest. In today’s sermon, we briefly explored connections between Isaiah 61 and Luke 4 and the way the Jubilee prophetically looked forward to the coming of the Messiah.  But is there a hint of more Jubilee in the book of…

Leviticus 25a – When Was the Year of Jubilee?

Leviticus 25:8-10 reads: “You shall count seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall give you forty-nine years. 9 Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land. 10 And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be…

Leviticus 23 – Jewish Holidays

Leviticus 23 overviewed seven of Israel’s major holy days and holidays: 1) Sabbath; 2) Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (viewed as one holiday); 3) Feast of Firstfruits; 4) Feast of Weeks; 5) Trumpets; 6) Day of Atonement; 7) Feast of Booths. You may wonder: What about Hanukkah?  What about Purim? These are two other Jewish holidays, but they both came after Moses gave Israel the Law in Leviticus.  Purim was established in the book of Esther (after the…

Leviticus 22b – Comparing Defects

When we read the list of defects that would have kept an animal from being sacrificed in Lev 22:22-25, we find that they resemble the list of defects that would have kept a priest from serving publicly in 21:18-20.  Because I know you are super curious, here’s a handy chart comparing the two lists (English is taken from ESV): Both lists offer twelve disqualifying defects.  The lists don’t match, but they both begin with blindness and end with injuries to…

Leviticus 21-22a: The Bachelor: OT Priest Edition

Every wonder what an Old Testament priest’s love life was like? Me neither. But Leviticus 21 answers the question for us anyway.  At least, it regulates who a priest could and could not marry.  (Keep in mind—we’re talking about OT priests, not Catholic priests.  The latter do not have a love life, as they take vows of celibacy and remained unmarried.) An OT priest was not allowed to marry a prostitute or a woman who had been divorced (Lev 21:7). …

Comparing Leviticus 20 and Leviticus 18

Leviticus 20 sounds a whole lot like Leviticus 18. In fact, most of the laws in Leviticus 20 are identical with those of the earlier chapter… with one major exception: the latter chapter includes the penalties associated with each law. Leviticus 18 says, “Don’t commit adultery” (vs 20). Leviticus 20 says, “Don’t commit adultery… and if you do, both offenders shall be put to death” (vs 10). And so on. Here’s a comparison showing the relationship between the two chapters: Lev…

Leviticus 19b – An Unmixed Mixture

God commanded the Israelites to “be holy, for I, the LORD your God am holy.”  To be holy means to be set apart unto God and away from the world.  One of the ways God had Israel demonstrated the nature of their “set-apartness” was to dress with only unmixed clothing: “[You shall not] wear a garment of cloth made of two kinds of material” (Lev 19:19c ESV). 100% cotton, 100% wool, 100% silk… it had to be 100% something.  The…

The 10 Commandments of Leviticus 19

As we read the first half of Leviticus 19 during this morning’s sermon, you might have noticed that many of the commandments sounded familiar.  Revere your parents; keep the Sabbath; don’t lie.  Where have we read that before? The 10 Commandments! Each of the original 10 Commandments from Exodus 20 can be found in Leviticus 19.  This makes sense, because Leviticus 19 is all about love.  We love God by keeping His commands.  We love God through loving others.  Over…

Leviticus 18 – “If a Person Does Them, He Shall Live By Them.”

What is the most-quoted verse or phrase in Scripture?  Depending on what we count as a quotation or allusion, there are a few candidates for consideration.  Among them is the short phrase at the end of Lev 18:5 – “You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the LORD” (all Scripture ESV). Life comes through keeping the Law.  Not that the Law gives life; Paul refutes that…

Isaiah 40a – Echoes in the Psalms

One of the joys of reading Scripture is to hear the words of other biblical writers echoing throughout the whole Bible.  When reading Isaiah 40:6-8, you may have been reminded of the words of Moses.  A long time ago, Moses not only penned the first five books of the Bible (The Pentateuch), but he also wrote a psalm, reflecting on the brevity of life and our hope in the eternality and reliability of God. Let’s start with Isaiah’s words.  He…

Leviticus 17 – “Bloodguilt”

Leviticus 17 describes laws that prescribe where an Israelite could sacrifice.  Sacrifices ought to be performed at the Tabernacle, so the blood could be splashed upon the altar and atone for the worshiper.  The penalty for sacrificing elsewhere was that “bloodguilt shall be imputed to that man” (17:4; all Scripture ESV).             What is “bloodguilt”?  The Hebrew word is dam, literally “blood.”  The word is usually used in the OT to refer to either manslaughter or murder.  Genesis 9:6 provides…

Leviticus 16b – Contagious Holiness and the High Priest’s Rope

I always feel like with communion Sundays I have more to say with less time to say it, and this week was no exception!  There were two bigger things that I had to cut from sermon due to time and focus. Contagious Holiness             Leviticus 16:24 says that the High Priest must change and bathe before offering the Burnt Offerings after having gone into the Holy of Holies twice (once for each of the Sin Offerings).  Now usually, an Israelite…

Scapegoat or Azazel? – Lev 16b

Leviticus 16:8 says, “And Aaron shall cast lots over the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for Azazel” (ESV).  Depending on what Bible translation you’re using, your version might say “scapegoat” instead of Azazel.             On Sunday I made a case for Azazel as a proper noun – the name of a desert demon.  Much of my time was spent demonstrating why I think that’s the best way to look at the text, but I…

Leviticus 12 – A Clean Quiz

Let’s do something a little different for this week’s Cutting Room Floor Blog.  Here’s a quiz to see who was paying attention and can best apply the concepts in today’s sermon.             Remember: the first person to email me a perfect score of correct answers gets a prize!             The first three questions come directly from the sermon.  The rest separate the wheat from the chaff! Question #1: Is it a sin to be unclean?             A) Always             B)…

Leviticus 10 – Weirdo Philo and Naked Nadab and Abihu

Philo was a Jewish philosopher who lived around the time of Jesus.  He wrote a commentary on the Pentateuch (Genesis through Deuteronomy), much of which uses what is called the “allegorical method” of interpretation.  As a result of allegorizing, he comes up with some pretty strange interpretations sometimes.             One of those interpretations is that Nadab and Abihu—the two unfortunate priests who were burned up by God’s glory for offering “unauthorized fire” in Lev 10—were actually offering themselves as a…

Why Did Aaron’s Sons “Present the Blood to Him” (Lev 9:9)?

During Aaron’s first priestly work after the inauguration week of Lev 8, at one point Aaron’s sons “presented the blood to him.”  The blood is the blood of the Sin Offering, the first offering Aaron makes in his official role as High Priest.             What is this about?  During our study of Lev 1–7, we never read anything about other priests presenting blood.  Why are Aaron’s sons holding blood?             The Mishnah may give us a clue.  The Mishnah is…

Tabernacle Toilets? (Leviticus 8)

Leviticus 8 tells us that during the ordination ceremony, Aaron and his four sons had to stay inside the entrance of the tent of meeting for seven days, upon fear of death (8:33, 35). This raises the natural question: where, then, did the priests-to-be take care of business?             We’ve already seen from Leviticus 6:16 that the priests were required to eat certain parts of the sacrificial meal “in a holy place.  In the court of the tent of meeting they…