Where’s Jesus – Consecrating the Priests (Exodus 29)

The consecration of Priests is an act, which sets a person or set of people apart for service.  In Exodus we find the ritual that makes Aaron and his sons those men who will minister before God for the people.  The ritual involves a sacrifice, the washing of the people along with dressing them in the proper of a priest, anointing them with oil and applying blood to the altar. 

Take a young bull and two rams without defect…then bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and wash them with water.  Take the garments and dress Aaron…anoint him by pouring it on his head. Bring his sons and dress them…Take some of the bull’s blood and put it on the horns of the altar with your finger and pour out the rest of it at the base of the altar. (Exodus 29:1-12)

The ritual is fairly complex.  Yet it is all to teach us about Christ.  He is the one without defect completely set apart to the service of the Lord.  He requires no sacrifice for he is the sacrifice.  Yet he himself enters into the Jordan River and is baptized by John.  I have often been troubled by that passage, particularly by Jesus’ response,

It is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness. (Matthew 3:15)

But if we view this act of washing as part of the consecration of Jesus’ high priestly ministry, then it makes perfect sense.  Jesus is undergoing the rituals throughout his life for the final sacrifice which he will offer on the Cross.  He is clothed with power from on high and anointed with oil by Mary.

A woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard.  She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head… “Leave her alone,” said Jesus… “She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.” (Mark 14:3, 6, 8)

In fact he is not only clothed with righteousness, he is righteousness, holiness, truth and love.  He is the great priest consecrated for ministry.

And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. If you know that he [Jesus] is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him. (1 John 2:28-29)

But what truly amazes me about Exodus 29 is that the Sons of Aaron, symbolic of all believers are consecrated as well.  The 44th verse and following declares,

So I will consecrate the Tent of Meeting and the altar and will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests.  Then I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God.  They will know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them.  I am the Lord their God. (Exodus 29:44-46)

God promises that all the ritual of the Old Testament really didn’t matter, when it came down to it, God alone was the one who consecrates and sets people apart for service in the tabernacle.  The same is true today.  He declared Jesus Christ, his Son, to be the acceptable High Priest and he declares each and every believer to be a priest in his kingdom and he clothes them with power, he teaches them and he dwells within them.  The great truths of Exodus 29 are once again superceded in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ to his church.

I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:49)

you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5)

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever —the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)

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About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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