Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Jesus Christ the Forever Present Mediator

Numbers 18:1 "So the LORD said to Aaron, “You and your sons and your father’s household with you shall bear the guilt in connection with the sanctuary, and you and your sons with you shall bear the guilt in connection with your priesthood."

Numbers 18:32 ‘You will bear no sin by reason of it when you have offered the best of it. But you shall not profane the sacred gifts of the sons of Israel, or you will die.’”

For the past several days we have been comparing Aaron, the first high priest of Israel to the ministry and Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.  In nearly 30 spots in the book of Hebrews, parallels and pictures are drawn in showing how Aaron's life and ministry functions as a faint shadow of the substance of Christ's everlasting priesthood. (Hebrews 5:4-5)  We have seen how Aaron foreshadows Jesus Christ as the Forever standing and living Mediator.  Today we want to consider how Aaron and his sons ministries as the officiating priests of Israel picture Jesus Christ as the believer's Forever Present Mediator.

Picturing the Present Mediator bearing the burdens of the people
Aaron had stood as the people's mediator in Numbers 16, literally standing between the living and the dead - shutting down the wrath of God in the plague that killed nearly 15,000 Israelites.  In Numbers 17 Aaron was confirmed by God to be the living mediator, with the miracle of the rod budding in the tent of meeting.  God reveals in Numbers 18:1 that Aaron and his sons were to function as the guilt bearers "in connection with" the people and the tabernacle.

When we consider the Lord Jesus Christ and what He did in coming to earth, His work on the cross no doubt bore the sins of the people. 

1. Isaiah 53:5 predicted Christ bearing our guilt - "But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed."

2.Hebrews 2:17 "Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people."

Having said that, we also know that following His resurrection and ascension, Jesus Christ is our Present mediator bearing the burdens of the people.   

3. Hebrews 4:14-16 states: "14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

We could cite many other passages, but the point is made: Jesus Christ is the Forever Present Mediator who bore the people's burdens, fulfilling the pattern pictured for us by Aaron. 

Picturing the Present Mediator with possessions bought with a price
Numbers 18:16 states - “As to their redemption price, from a month old you shall redeem them, by your valuation, five shekels in silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs."  Whenever an Israelite came to the sanctuary, they were to pay a price on behalf of every firstborn male on their household in the prescribed amount of silver.  The reason being was because every firstborn in every home belonged to the Lord. Rather than having those boys be given to the service of the tabernacle, God prescribed the Jews to give money - redemption money - instead. 

This money was to be used for the upkeep of the temple and to aid in the feeding and clothing of the priests who served.  This was necessary, since Aaron and his sons did not have land and holdings like the rest of the tribes and clans of Israel. (Numbers 18:24)  Quite literally every bit of food and provision that Aaron and his sons had was "redeemed", "bought with a price".  As it was given to God, it was reckoned as belonging to Aaron and His sons. (Numbers 18:19)

When Jesus Christ came to die on the cross and rise from the dead, He had purchased sinners with His blood.  Ephesians 1:7 states: "in whom we have redemption in His blood, the forgiveness of sins".  According to Acts 20:28, the church, His bride, was purchased by the giving of His life.  Ephesians 5:22-25 and others texts also bear out the fact that as Christians, we belong to the Lord, we have been bought with a price. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 1 Peter 1:17-18)  Every single believer as been bought and paid for by Christ.  Christians are His inheritance according to Ephesians 1:12 - "to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory."

So having seen how Aaron pictures a present mediator bearing the people's burdens and with possessions bought and paid for, we consider the third pattern of the Eternal Present mediator...

Picturing the Present Mediator's work as the best offering to God
As much as Aaron and his sons were to bear the guilt of the people, we also read another truth in Numbers 18:32 - ‘You will bear no sin by reason of it when you have offered the best of it. But you shall not profane the sacred gifts of the sons of Israel, or you will die.’” As the people brought their gifts and tithes to the Levites, the Levites in turn would tithe that amount to Aaron and his sons.  It would be from those tithes that Aaron and his sons would be offering the "best of the best" to God.  

This sacred set of gifts would enable the sons of Aaron to be deemed blameless in God's sight.  If in anyway the gifts were profaned by Aaron or his sons - death would result.  Clearly the limitations of even the best of gifts was looking forward to an ultimate gift, given by an Ultimate High Priest, that would never have the stigma of guilt or profaning by the Giver.

Thanks be to God when Jesus Christ offered Himself, He offered the Best that could be given.  Furthermore, when He offered Himself on the cross, it was an offering incapable of being profaned, since the One offering was without spot nor blemish. (1 Peter 1:17-18).  In fact we read these words in Hebrews 7:26-27  "For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; 27who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself."

Conclusion: Jesus Christ is the Forever Present Mediator
As we close out today's blog, we have looked at the ministry of Aaron once again.  We have noted how he pictures Jesus Christ as the believer's Forever Present Mediator.  We have noted three characteristics of Jesus Christ as the Forever Present Mediator, namely....

1. He bears the burdens of the people, both in the past on the cross and currently for believers at the Father's right hand in Heaven. (1 John 2:1-2)

2. He has bought us with a price.  We are His redeemed possession, His inheritance, saved to bring Him glory and pleasure. (Ephesians 1:12)

3. He gave His life as the Best offering possible to God. (Romans 5:6-10)

Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ, the Forever Present Mediator!

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