A wonderful sermon at Westpointe Christian Centre yesterday. Jon Boyd, teaching on Exodus 28-29, on the sanctification of the robes of Aaron, Moses' brother and the first High Priest.
The instructions include making the robes out of linen in purple, blue and scarlet, with real gold thread woven into the garments. Then the ephod -- a sort of vest -- with twelve precious gems -- rubies, diamonds, onyx, etc. etc. -- attached to the front, each gem symbolizing one of the 12 tribes of Israel.
Then, this magnificent garment is placed on Aaron, and then ...
It gets stained beyond laundering.
God tells Moses to pour anointing oil over Aaron so that it flows from the top of the turban on his head right down to his feet and all over his garments.
Then, there's to be the sacrifice of a ram, and the blood from the ram is "sprinkled" (probably in the way that Niagara Falls "sprinkles" the rocks below) over the garments, as well.
So here are this magnificent work -- the robes and the ephod -- and these precious gems, stained forever by oil and blood.
It's a study in contrasts, which focuses the way God sees us. Each of us -- symbolized by the tribes of Israel -- is a precious gem in His sight, worthy to be attached to a magnificent robe and vest. But every one of us is also stained forever by the anointing and the blood -- blood from an innocent life taken to sanctify us.
It's the same in Christ, except the sanctification is on the inside, and we receive it not by order or law, but willingly, and by faith. But our worthiness in God's eyes is no less beautiful and precious, and the stains of the anointing are no less permanent.