Reading: Exodus 28:5-39
When the High Priest served in the tabernacle he wears special garments showing he was holy to the Lord. His garment includes two onyx stones set in gold, and engraved with the names of the twelve sons of Israel. He also wears the breastplate with twelve precious stones engraved with the same names. The twelve stones were worn over the High Priest’s heart “when he goes into the holy place, as a memorial before the LORD continually” (Exodus 28:29).
These engraved stones symbolised the connection between the priest and the people. God ensured that all envy was removed, since the people would understand that the priest is not separated from them in the tabernacle and before God for his own private advantage. He represents the people as a kingdom of priests to serve and worship God (Exodus 19:6). Peter says that all believers are “a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). Peter adds “through Jesus Christ” because only though Jesus Christ can we be priests offering our lives acceptably to the service of God and His church.
Due to our sins we cannot come to God and offer Him anything; we cannot even stand up, but we are weighed down with guilt and debt. It is only because Jesus Christ carries us that we can serve God. Christ raises us up with Him; as Paul says, we “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 2:6;) that is, we receive salvation and eternal life.
Like the OT priests, Jesus Christ carries our names before God. Let this encourage us not to be afraid of God, but confidently pray to Him and serve Him to the best of our abilities. Even though we are weak in ourselves, we have strength, because we are carried by Jesus Christ.
Key text: Ex 28:12 “And you shall put the two stones on the shoulders of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. So Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders as a memorial.”
Question: What comfort do you receive from this chapter?