Christ our High Priest
“You are to take the anointing oil and pour it on his head and anoint him.” – Exodus 29:7 NET
In this chapter we have the ordination of Aaron and his sons into the priesthood. Moses is given intricate instructions by God as to how to consecrate these men for their service in the Tabernacle. And in this imagery we get a glimpse into some deep spiritual truths about Christ and His role as High Priest. The Tabernacle itself was God’s dwelling place here on earth. The Tabernacle was symbolic of Jesus’ coming to dwell among His people. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 NIV). The phrase “made His dwelling” literally means He “tabernacled” among us. He pitched His tent in our midst so to speak. Images of Jesus are found throughout the Tabernacle from the golden lampstand, representing Jesus as the light of the world, to the bread of the presence which symbolized Jesus as the bread of life. But we also get a foreshadowing of Jesus in the ordination of the priests. The sacrifices that consecrated them to God pointed to the sacrifice He made for us on the cross. He became our substitute. In laying their hands on the bull to be sacrificed, they were identifying with this animal as their sin substitute. Their sins were transferred onto this animal, which was then offered up as a substitute sacrifice on their behalf. Paul was to later remind us “God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT).
Another picture of Christ in the ordination of the priests can be seen in the fact that the blood of the bull was carried by the High Priest and sprinkled in the Most Holy Place, but the body was carried outside the camp and burned. Jesus blood was offered as a sin sacrifice before the very throne of God, but His body was taken outside the walls of Jerusalem to be destroyed.
But Jesus is not just the sacrifice, He is the priest. He enters God’s presence on our behalf. The book of Hebrews tells us, “Therefore, it was necessary for Jesus to be in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. He then could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17 NLT). As our Great High Priest, Jesus presents our prayers to God, interceding on our behalf. He also stands before God in perfect righteousness, so that we can be accepted in God’s sight. And just like Aaron and his sons were ordained for the priestly ministry, so was Jesus. Jesus began His public ministry when He was baptized in the Jordan River. Washing with water was the first step in the ordination of the priests. More than likely, they were completely immersed in water for this to be done, just as Jesus was by John the Baptist. But unlike Aaron and his sons, Jesus was not being washed to cleanse Him from sin, but to set Him apart as a priest for sinners. His baptism was also his anointing. God sent Him to be the Messiah, which means “the Anointed One.” Luke records that at His baptism, “the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in the form of a dove. And a voice from heaven said” (Luke 3:21b – 22a NLT). In the Old Testament the priests were anointed with oil, a symbol of the Spirit setting them apart for God’s service. But Jesus was anointed by the Spirit Himself in the form of a dove. In Acts 10:38 Paul states, “And no doubt you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power.”
Jesus stands as our High Priest today. He is our representative. He is out advocate. He has offered the final sacrifice, Himself, and has made it possible for us to stand as pure and righteous before the throne of God.
Father, Your Son is the sacrifice and the priest. He is the sin substitute and the people’s representative. He was chosen by You. He was anointed by You. He satisfied You. His sacrifice appeased Your holy wrath and satisfied Your righteous judgment. Because of Him, I can stand before You. Thank You for sending the Messiah, “the Anointed One.” Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men