High atop the main pyramid of the temple of Tenochtitlan in Mexico, the ancient Aztecs performed their vile ritual of human sacrifice. According to their beliefs, the sun god needed the nourishment of human blood to drive back the darkness each dawn.

Human sacrifice is abhorrent to us—and even more so to God. That makes the sacrifice of Jesus Christ so amazing. Yet as we examine it, we see how different it was from those tragically misguided pagan rituals.

God’s Word tells us that because of Adam’s fall sin entered the human family. Because God is holy, something would have to be done to take away sin if man was to be restored to fellowship with Him. Jesus, who was God in the flesh, alone lived a perfect life and could open the way to God by paying the penalty for man’s sin. And His sacrifice did that for us.

The Aztecs sacrificed human beings, hoping to appease the whims of the gods. The living and true God, however, sent His own Son to die in our place, thus satisfying both the demands of His holiness and the desires of His love. In God’s righteous Son Jesus we have a perfect sacrifice. But just to know that truth is not enough. We must accept Him.

Have you put your trust in God’s perfect sacrifice?