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bible reading mar 18

Bible reading for March 18: Exodus 29; John 8. 

" ...you shall kill the ram and take part of its blood and put it on the tip of the right ear of Aaron and on the tips of the right ears of his sons, and on the thumbs of their right hands and on the great toes of their right feet..." (Exodus 29:20)

Ordination of Aaron and sons. There are many details here regarding the ordination of Aaron and his sons into the priesthood for Israel.  They are consecrated (set apart, made holy)(29:1ff), cleansed (4), clothed (5-6), anointed (7), make sacrifices and offerings (10-18; 23-28), are themselves sprinkled with sacrificial blood (20-21), and finally, they share in the food from the sacrifices (32-33). The verse above, about the sacrificial blood being placed on the tip of the ear (= hearing), and on the thumbs (= doing), and on the toes (= walking), highlights the fact that God's mediator must be wholly committed to the Lord in every aspect of life.  

The history of Israel demonstrated not only the weakness and failure of the people generally, but also of the priests, as well.  What was needed was a priest who could faithfully mediate between God and man, who would be holy before God and merciful to fallible people at the same time.  He would be able to stand before God and welcome and intercede for people like you and me.  This is a theme of the book of Hebrews in the NT, which speaks of Jesus:    

"For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself" (Heb 7:26-27; cf 4:14-16).  

And only through this High Priest, our Lord Jesus, can these words finally come about... "I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God" (Ex 29:45; cf Rev 21:3). 

One application: as a follower of Christ I too am "a priest" (1 Pet 2:5, 9; Heb 13:15-16; Rev 1:6). Just like the blood was placed on the tip of Aaron's ear, thumb, and toe, so the blood of Christ must also sanctify my hearing (and thinking), my doing (the work of my hands), and my walk in life (wherever I go).  My life should be integrated before the Lord. I shouldn't compartmentalize my life into that which is the Lord's and that which is mine.  We are to be holistically holy in serving the Lord as priests!   

============  

“Yet because I tell you the truth, you do not believe me.” (John 8:45 NIV)

D. A. Carson makes two comments on John 8:12-51... 

(1) Already in John 7:7, Jesus said to his brothers, “The world cannot hate you, but it hates me, because I testify that what it does is evil.” Both in his own person and in his uncompromising words, Jesus is so offensive that the world hates him. He is the very embodiment of 3:19-21: “Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” John 8 now goes further. Jesus insists that when the Devil lies, “he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (8:44). Then Jesus adds, “Yet because I tell you the truth, you do not believe me” (8:45). That is stunning. The first clause is not concessive, as if Jesus had said, “Although I tell you the truth, you do not believe me.” That would be bad enough. But Jesus says, “Because I tell you the truth, you do not believe me.” What options does that leave him? Should he tell the smooth lies that comfortable people want to hear? That might get him a hearing, but it is unthinkable that Jesus would follow such a course. So he continues telling the truth, and precisely because he tells the truth, he is not believed. To those so blinded, speaking the truth is precisely what hardens their hearts. It ignites the burning hatred that issues in the conflagration of the cross. 

(2) Jesus insists that “Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day” (8:56): probably what Jesus has in mind is the promise God made and renewed to Abraham that in his offspring all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Gen. 12). It is unlikely Jesus is claiming that Abraham had some vision that unfolded the life and times of Jesus in a kind of visionary preview. What he means, rather, is that Abraham knew God, believed God’s promises about the offspring, and in faith contemplated the fulfillment of those promises, rejoicing in the prospect of what he could not yet fully grasp: “he saw it and was glad” (8:56). But at very least this means that Jesus is the object and fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham, thus superseding him in importance. More: if the eternal Word (John 1:1) was always with God, and was always God, even Abraham’s faith-borne contemplation of God was nothing less than a contemplation of him who became Jesus of Nazareth. “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am” —the very covenant name of God (Ex. 3:14). When his opponents pick up stones to kill Jesus because of this second point, they prove his first point.
       

-- Donald A. Carson, For the Love of God, Volume I (Crossway, 1998)


Image credit: "Aaron, High Priest of the Israelites, Holding a Censer" by Pier Francesco Mola (1612–1666). 
We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. 
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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