If the offering is a burnt offering from the flock, from either the sheep or the goats, he is to offer a male without defect.

Leviticus 1:10

A significant feature of all the sacrificial laws, given to Moses by the LORD, is that any animal offered as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the person bringing it must be ‘a male without defect’.  We must be in no doubt about the relevance of this.

Every such sacrifice offered throughout the whole OT dispensation could only have efficacy before God because it anticipated the TRUE, ONCE-FOR-ALL sacrifice that Jesus made of HIMSELF on our behalf.  If Jesus had NOT come and “humbled himself and bec[o]me obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8b), then the sacrifices stipulated in the Mosaic Law would have been MEANINGLESS and VALUELESS.  As Paul pointed out to the Christians in Rome: “God presented [JESUS] as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.  He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand UNPUNISHED – he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in JESUS.” (Romans 3:25).

In other words, the sins of sinful Mankind really remain UNPUNISHED until the SINLESS Son of God comes and bears ALL the punishment for them in his own ‘body on the tree’ so that ‘by HIS wounds [God’s Elect] have been healed’ (1 Peter 1:1-2; 2:24).  It was only possible for Jesus to bear the punishment for OUR sins because he, himself, was SINLESS – OTHERWISE he could only bear the punishment for his OWN sin.

This is why all the OT sacrifices that were to serve as a POINTER to, and DEPOSIT for, HIS sacrifice, had to be a ‘male without defect’.  “Before the throne of God above I have a strong, a perfect plea: a Great High Priest, whose name is ‘Love’, who ever lives and pleads for me. … Because the sinLESS Saviour died, my sinFUL soul is counted free, for God, the Just, is satisfied to LOOK ON HIM, and PARDON ME.” (Charitie Lees de Chenez.).  May this profound, eternal truth be at the very centre of all our thinking this Easter.  “For God so LOVED the world that he GAVE his one and only Son, that WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).