Exodus 28:39–29:9; Exodus 32:1–21; Romans 5:1–11 (read online ⧉)
The pomp, display, mystery, pageantry (and politics) that surrounds the elevation of a cardinal (or, per rule, any Roman Catholic male) to the position of pope is pretty amazing and can be quite stirring. It should not be lost on anyone that there are “liturgical” steps that are followed for every pope.
The Old Testament is filled with many “liturgical” steps itself, particularly for the priests. Aaron was going to be anointed and appointed High Priest of the entire nation of Israel. His sons would also receive the same. For a people that escaped and left Egypt through the miraculous works of God, this should have been a sure personal coup for Aaron.
God was talking to Moses about this, in the meantime, Aaron was definitely acting as a high priest, just not of God. One could even see a foreshadow of the priests (High and other) during the time Jesus. No courage of conviction (or perhaps no real conviction) when confronted by the people.
Aaron’s place as Moses’ second (we always have to keep in mind that Aaron was the mouthpiece of Moses) couldn’t be ignored. The people are too impatient to wait (What’s waiting 40 days in comparison to 430 years?) and are quick to abandon their God and their leader.
That whole thunder on a mountain, pillar of smoke by day, pillar of fire by night, annihilation of the world’s biggest army,…meh, too much time. And then, eventually, there was a new nation, a bunch of prophets, exile, return,…and silence for another 400 years.
Another 400 year period of silence, then John the Baptist showed up. The time of silence was over. Jesus, the Son of God, walked on the Earth…
…in the meantime, people lived. People died. People sinned, and sinned, and sinned. Jesus died.
It was “finished” on the cross that day. Jesus Christ died for people who were sinning right up to that very moment, and Jesus Christ died for all those who sinned afterward.
Aaron’s call had very little to do with Aaron, and everything to do with God. Jesus’ death on the cross had little to do with us, and everything to do with God.
That last sentence probably jarred you a bit. We are taught (and the Scriptures state, such as this passage in Romans) that God died for our sins. Yet, in many respects, God died to be true to God’s self…self-sacrificing love for others. In other words, while our sins were the trigger, God’s very nature was the reason.
O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people; Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. [BCP]
1) In the case of Aaron and us, God is doing something great for us, while we are often doing something against God. What does that tell us about God and ourselves?
2) Why is it critical to understand that Jesus Christ died for all sins through all time?
3) How does Romans 5:1 relate to Aaron’s consecration?