God appointed Aaron, the brother of Moses, to be the first high priest of the Jewish nation. After Moses followed God’s instructions in anointing Aaron and his sons, Aaron was then able to offer the prescribed sacrifices to God, Everything offered had to be without blemish or the sacrifice was not acceptable. These were offered on the altar and when they were offered properly, God would accept them as a sweet smelling sacrifice and forgive the sins of the people. Aaron understood the weakness of the people and their inability to refrain from disobedience. He suffered from the same weakness. (Read Exodus 32 for that story). So he could have empathy and compassion on the people as he offered the sacrifices for both his and their sins. This was a temporary fix that God allowed until a true sacrifice could be given.There is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood, Since sin came into the world through the disobedience of the first man, Adam, complete permanent remission of sin would have to wait on the sacrifice of a perfect man, Jesus Christ.
The sacrifices offered by the priests of the tribe of Levi could only cleanse the exterior, it was sufficient to make their bodies holy and clean. However, it did nothing on the inside of the priest or the individuals. That is why it had to be repeated over and over. When Jesus shed His blood, it was the perfect sacrifice, cleansing not only the body, but the heart and the conscience of each person accepting His sacrifice. Because Christ offered Himself, He gave us a new promise and established a new covenant. His perfect sacrifice will last for all ages and will never need to be repeated. Once we accept Jesus as our Savior, our place in Heaven is guaranteed forever. He has given us His Holy Spirit as an earnest, a down payment ensuring us of our heritage.
9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. — 1 Peter 2:9 NLT
What was/is God’s purpose in choosing us, making us royal priests, holy and special? God doesn’t need our abilities to accomplish His purpose. But He desires our availability to work with Him in bringing His plans to fulfillment. Could He do it without us? Yes, but He wants to fellowship with each of us. So, He paid the full price of our redemption. He sent Light into this world to push back the darkness. That Light was Jesus Christ. When we were in slavery to sin, we were nobodies, we were not a people. But God, in His great mercy chose us, picked us up, cleaned us inside and out and put His marvelous Light inside us. Once we become a child of God, we are no longer citizens of this world, we are aliens and foreigners here. But we still have to live here for a while. As long as we are here, our flesh will be tempted to do wrong. But we are to live a lifestyle that reflects the life of Jesus Christ so that He will receive glory. We are free from the flesh, but bound by God’s Holy Spirit. We will have troubles here but our response should be to rejoice forevermore. This will cause others to ask us what is the hope that lies in us and causes our joy. We should always have a ready answer for that question. That answer should always give glory to God and magnify the name of Jesus.
16 Always be joyful.17 Never stop praying.18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. — 1 Thess. 5:16-18 NLT
47 All the men between thirty and fifty years of age who were eligible for service in the Tabernacle and for its transportation48 numbered 8,580.49 When their names were recorded, as the Lord had commanded through Moses, each man was assigned his task and told what to carry. — Numbers 4:47-49 NLT
When it was time for the Israelis to leave a place in the desert and move forward, the Tabernacle had to be completely disassembled. Moses and Aaron would assign each membmer of the Levite tribe a particular task to achieve this, The things that were in the Holy of Holies could not be touched by anyone but Aaron and his sons. If anyone else touched these things or even looked at them for a moment they would die or be put to death. Each person had a specific job to do and a specific way to do it. Some carried the Holy objects and others carried the poles and skin coverings. Aaron and his family were chosen by God to be the priests and the Levite tribe was chosen by God to be their helpers. If the move was to be successful, each person chosen by God must accomplish his task in the manner prescribed by God. God never changes. He has the same plan in place today and if the Church, His body, is going to move forward, each of us must do our job. Just as Israel was called out of Egypt and Aaron was chosen to be the priest and the Levites were chosen to carry the Tabernacle, we are called out of darkness and chosen to be priests and a holy nation. We may not feel a calling to be pastors, missionaries, choir directors or teachers in the congregation where we worship God. But in the Church, the body of Christ, each of us has a speicifc task to do. Just as the Levites were chosen to help Aaron and Moses, we have been chosen to help our local pastors and the Church staff. God has a specific plan and purpose for our lives. The Holy Spirit abides in each of us so we are not restricted as the Levites were. We can touch every area of our world with the Word of God. Ask the Holy Spirit what task God has assigned you and do it diligently.
17 They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. 18 There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between. 19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 20 Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews’; but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”—John 19:17-22 (NLT)
Jesus went out bearing His own cross to the place called Golgotha, So Pilate causes an inscription to be written and attached to the cross. Pilate thinks he is mocking Jesus. The chief priests want Pilate to change the title, but he refuses. After all of his dancing around the situation, he now wants everyone to think that he is really in control. “What I have written I have written” states Pilate. Yes, you have Pilate and it is the truth that you have written, but it is long after God had written it. God had established that fact before the first human was ever formed. 1 Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. 2 And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. 3 The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.—Hebrews 1:1-3 (NLT)
Yes, Pilate, your title was true but incomplete, not only King of the Jews, but King of Kings and Lord of Lords! How majestic is Your Name! 9 O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!—Psalm 8:9 (NASB)
53 That day they started planning to kill Jesus. 54 So Jesus no longer traveled openly among the Jews. He left there and went to a place near the desert, to a town called Ephraim and stayed there with his followers. 55 It was almost time for the Jewish Passover Feast. Many from the country went up to Jerusalem before the Passover to do the special things to make themselves pure. 56 The people looked for Jesus and stood in the Temple asking each other, “Is he coming to the Feast? What do you think?” 57 But the leading priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where Jesus was, he must tell them. Then they could arrest him.—John 11:53-57 (NCV)
Yesterday, in verse 50 of John 11, we hear Caiaphas prophesying that one man must die for the nation. He thought his statement was about handing Jesus over to the Romans so that they would not take any authority away from the Sanhedrin, the ruling council of Israel. He did not realize the eternal implications of what he said, God used the most powerful Jew in Israel, at that time, to announce His salvation plan for the whole world. Had the Pharisees and the ruling council understood this, perhaps, they would not have been so determined to kill Jesus. Jesus, knowing their thoughts and intentions left Bethany and went to the town of Ephraim located in the mountainous area northeast of Jerusalem. It was approaching the time for the Feast of the Passover. Little did the people realize that this would be the Passover that marked the end of the Passover as they knew it. The perfect, sacrificial Lamb was in their midst and they did not recognize Him. Jesus had shown them who He was by His words and His works.They should have been honoring Him. Instead, they were trying to kill Him. He is still in our midst today, are we honoring Him? Does our lifestyle, our dreams, our hopes, our actions, our words reflect His presence in our lives? Or are we still killing Jesus today?
28 Faith led Moses to establish the Passover and spread the blood on the doorposts so that the destroying angel would not kill the firstborn sons. 29 Faith caused the people to go through the Red Sea as if it were dry land. The Egyptians also tried this, but they drowned. 30 Faith caused the walls of Jericho to fall after the Israelites marched around them for seven days. 31 Faith led the prostitute Rahab to welcome the spies as friends. She was not killed with those who refused to obey God.–Hebrews 11:28-31 (GW)
The children of Israel had cried out to God for 400 years. They were holding onto the hope that God would deliver them from captivity. God heard their cry and sent a man who was both a prince and a shepherd (Jesus is our Shepherd and our Prince of Peace) to lead them out. When they were trapped between the Egyptian chariots and the Red Sea, they had only one hope. Would God desert them or lead them out? Because Moses had faith, God’s children walked across on dry land, not so for the Egyptians. For six days, Joshua led the army as they walked in complete silence around Jericho one time each day. The procession was led by armed men followed by the seven priests with rams’ horns. On the seventh day, they marched around Jericho seven times. At the end of the seventh lap, the priests blew the horns and the people shouted to the Lord and the walls fell straight down. Obedience and faithfulness brought the victory! Because Rahab was faithful and protected the spies, her family was saved and she is one of 4 women mentioned in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus. Faith brings salvation. We are “saved by grace through faith”.