October 29, 2021
6 “Make the ephod of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen—the work of skilled hands. 7 It is to have two shoulder pieces attached to two of its corners, so it can be fastened. 8 Its skillfully woven waistband is to be like it—of one piece with the ephod and made with gold, and with blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and with finely twisted linen.
9 “Take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel 10 in the order of their birth—six names on one stone and the remaining six on the other. 11 Engrave the names of the sons of Israel on the two stones the way a gem cutter engraves a seal. Then mount the stones in gold filigree settings 12 and fasten them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. Aaron is to bear the names on his shoulders as a memorial before the Lord. 13 Make gold filigree settings 14 and two braided chains of pure gold, like a rope, and attach the chains to the settings.
Aaron, as Moses, is a son of the tribe of Levi. The tribe that is given the task of being the priests of God, to speak to God on behalf of the people. This Ephod bears the names of the tribes of Israel. Not just to show who the tribes are, or who the sons of Jacob are from whom the tribes descend. The ephod also connects Aaron, and all the priests to the whole of the nation. They don’t just represent themselves before God, they bring the whole nation to God.
So recently it was mentioned to me that we no longer need a priest to get to God, we pray on our own, we read the Word of God on our own. But we still need a priest. Not in the form of the priesthood of Aaron and those who come after him. In the form of the greatest high priest (Hebrews 4.14-5.10). A high priest who wears our names, not just the names of a tribe or nation, but the names of his people. He brings us right to the throne of God so that we can be seen and heard by God.
Our high priest knows more than our names, he knows what it means to live our lives as people. He has lived as we do, yet he did not sin. He knows what it is to be tempted. He knows what it is to suffer. Sufferings that go beyond what we have to endure. Not just suffering death for all, but the rejection of the Father as he was forsaken so that we might never be forsaken of God.
And while we are not a priest on behalf of others in the way of Jesus, or even to the extent of Aaron and his descendants, we are also priest, serving God (Revelation 1.4-8). We are still a priesthood. We come before God on behalf of the world. Praying for grace to come to the world in its needs. Praying for the world to receive the grace that leads to salvation. Praying for the world to see God as creator, saviour and sustainer of all. We have been given the role of the priesthood for the world in need of a saviour. Bring the world to God to receive his grace and salvation today.
Song – Psalm 34
God of all ages: we thank you for the faithful witness of your apostles, prophets, and martyrs throughout the history of your church and throughout the world even today. Through their witness we see and hear your truth. We bless you for all who bless your name through their writing, speaking, art, and music. Through their work we glimpse your beauty. We praise you for all who serve you without recognition or honor, offering encouragement to the lonely, the sick, and the fearful. Through their lives we see your faithfulness and sense your comfort. Now we pray that you will use even us to reflect the glory we see in Christ. May the voices of all your saints, made holy in Christ, swell in joyous praise to you, the giver of all good gifts, through Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.