Reading through the Bible together
The name of this sacrifice is related to the word shalom, which means “peace” or “well-being.” The ritual celebrated the well-being of the human relationship with God through sacrifice. It pointed to Christ’s sacrifice, by which God’s people enjoy peace with Him (Rom 5:1). This healthy relationship was signified by a meal shared by God and the offerer. The peace offering was the only sacrifice from which the offerer could partake of the meat after the fat was burned on the altar to God and the priest took his portion (compare Lev 7). God’s “eating” was symbolic because He doesn’t need human food (Ps 50:13).
Like the grain offering, the peace offering did not atone for specific sins. Nevertheless, its blood ransomed the life (made atonement for the soul) of the offerer (Lev 17:11), showing that human lives depend on a restored relationship with God through Christ’s blood. His sacrifice is not only for us, but must be taken into us spiritually, as Jesus said: “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53, explained in verse 63). When we accept Christ into us (partaking of Him) through the Holy Spirit, His love lives within us (Rom 5:5; Gal 2:20) and transforms all our relationships. Now that’s worth celebrating!