Jesus provides the Word and Spirit for our Basin of Washing (Exodus 30:17-21)

Part of the tabernacle worship ritual involved a constant need to wash ones hands and feet. The priests were instructed that between the altar and the service in the tabernacle a basin was to be erected for cleansing. Worship in the Old Testament would have been a dirty job, blood, dirt, fire, ash and oil. All of them would have undoubtedly gotten on ones hands and feet. It would be impossible to slaughter an animal and not be covered in the blood. Anyone who has cleaned out a fire box of ashes knows that the soot magically appears upon the hands and face and clothing. So God is declaring that for anyone involved in priestly service, a continuous cleansing beyond the initial cleansing for ordination is required.

As we have seen, the tabernacle has served as a miniature illustration about the life of Christ as it is applied to the believer. As one approaches the tabernacle, the very first act which must be accomplished is the offering of a sacrifice, and we have seen that JEsus is the one sacrifice that takes away all sin. The second step along the journey into the tabernacle is to stop at the bronze laver and be washed.

Spiritually this same truth must be observed for every believer, for we are all priests.

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. (1Peter 2:5)

And as priests, we still live in this world inside bodies that struggle and war against sin.  True, Jesus is our sacrifice and he cleanses our consciences from guilt, but his spirit is cleansing us each day, changing our very life and desires as he makes the word of God a part of the very fabric of our lives.  in fact it is the word of God, continuously applied to our lives by the Spirit which acts as, and replaces, the liturgical washings that the priests performed in the bronze basin.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:25-27)

When Ephesians 5:26 speaks of the washing of the water in the Word, the word for washing is the word that refers to the washing station.  It wouldn’t far fetched to assume that Paul had in mind the bronze laver. As we read the Scriptures, the Lord  speaks to us and cleanses us from sin by bring to mind those items needing to be confessed.  Let us never forget that our Lord is constantly renewing our hearts and minds, until the consummation of the kingdom, that is why Paul speaks about washing in the present continuous tense, because this work of the Spirit if ongoing until we are glorified and enter into the new Jerusalem.

he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, (Titus 3:5-6)

Therefore, let us praise God that not only is Jesus our final sacrifice, but he has also given us his word and spirit in order to continuously cleanse us from the dirt of this life in order that we may freely enter into the presence of God and worship.

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About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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