My church participates in an annual “Thank Offering” as part of our celebration of Christ’s Resurrection. This thank offering comes from the Levitical peace offering and it is one of the few Levitical offerings still in effect today. Leviticus 3:5 (NKJV) describes the peace offering as “a sweet aroma to the Lord.” Offerings identified this way are symbolic of God consuming the meal and being satisfied.
There is a pre-Leviticus occurrence of the peace offering which Abraham offered to God in person in Genesis 18:6-8. God visited Abraham and Abraham offered Him cakes, butter, milk, and a calf. The Lord not only accepted Abraham’s offering, but actually sat and ate it in his presence! Abraham’s offering was acceptable and pleasing to God. Accordingly, we should consider that our thank offerings, like Abraham’s offering and the Levitical peace offerings, are also satisfying to our Heavenly Father.
The association of the Thank Offering with Resurrection Sunday is significant because this day is when we celebrate the fullness of God’s greatest gift. John 3:16 tells us that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” Pay attention to the word “only.” God could have given anything to demonstrate His love to us, but He loved us so much that He gave us His only “only.” Anything else He could have created. It would have been huge to us, but it would not have cost Him anything. But while God has created many things, He only has one begotten Son, Jesus. God gave us His only Son because of His great love for us. And while He gave us Jesus at Christmas, the Gift grew, ministered, suffered, and died before reaching His fullness at the Resurrection. Thus, it is appropriate that we respond to God’s greatest gift on Resurrection Sunday with a gift of our own. This is why we give a thank offering on Resurrection Sunday.
There’s one more thing interesting about the peace offering. John W. Ritenbaugh writes: “We must remember, though, that “peace,” as used in terms of this offering, does not convey mere tranquility. This is why commentators cannot arrive at a consistent name for it. The word connotes a great deal more. Like shalom, it implies abundance in every area of life, even prosperity and good health. It also suggests thankfulness for blessings received and deliverance from difficulty... ...We should make this offering... ...on our knees giving thanks, praise, and blessing to God for His abundant mercy and providence.” Amen!