TEXT: Leviticus 8-10
OBSERVE: As we move into the book of Leviticus, we read about many regulations that are to take place to allow for God’s presence to dwell with the people. In chapter 8, we read about the ceremony of cleansing and robing of Aaron which were public rituals intended to teach Israel about God’s holiness. “The whole community assembled at the Tabernacle entrance. Moses announced to them, “This is what the Lord has commanded us to do!” Then he presented Aaron and his sons and washed them with water” (Leviticus 8: 4-6).
INTERPRET: This ceremonial washing indicated the moral purity required of a priest. But, of course, an external washing has no power to create an internal reality. Every day, for century after century the priests were washed from head to toe, pointing to the need for a deeper, more persuasive and permanent cleansing that could not be accomplished by water. Looking forward, Jesus told his disciples, “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you” (John 15: 3). Here, Jesus was saying that as water washed the body, so does the Word of God wash and cleanse the soul. The cleansing pictured by the external washing with water can become an ongoing, internal reality for all who are a part of his priesthood of believers as we wash ourselves daily with his Word.
APPLICATION: The Word of God cleanses us as it penetrates us and brings sin to the surface so it can be washed away. Its truth washes away our self-centered, people-pleasing, God-denying attitudes and actions so that the Holy Spirit can fill us with Christ-centered, God-pleasing, God-dependent attitudes and actions. In his great priestly prayer, Jesus said of his own, “I have given them your word…….Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth” (John 17: 14, 17). Here is the fulfillment of what God intended all along in instituting the ritual washing of the priests. Jesus, the Word made flesh, is our great High Priest. We are washed as we hear his Word. As his Word is applied to our hearts, as it penetrates our thoughts and shapes our perspective, the cleansing that Christ accomplished on the cross becomes an internal reality in our day-to-day lives.
QUESTION / REFLECTION: What has the Word put on your heart today?
PRAYER: Jesus, you have given me your Word, and it is living and active, penetrating and powerful. As we move through the Bible together, may your Word continually encourage me, reshape me and bring me closer into your presence. Cleanse me daily with your Word. AMEN.
SONG: Lord, Your Word Abiding
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.