Dear Friends, in the penultimate part of our series titled “Centrality of the Cross”, today we focus on yet another subject which substantiates the fact as to how Cross was central to God’s redemptive plan…
Of Cloth and Cleric…
Now our Saviour is a glorified high priest, as at His matchless royal name: “…every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11 NLT). Is it any wonder that when He appeared in all His glory to His beloved disciple John in the Island of Patmos, the latter couldn’t take it in and simply, figuratively speaking, “gave up the ghost” (seeRev. 1:17)?
Ever wondered why high priests and kings (Were the kings not also “middlemen”? Didn’t David and Solomon prayed on behalf of the people? See2 Sam 24:17/25 /1 Kings 8:22/54) would wear predominantly purple clothing (SeeExodus 39:29)? Doubtless this was the color of our Lord’s divine attire, too, during His glorious appearance to the exiled Apostle.
Consider the following two Scripture portions and the answer would emerge…
Firstly Numbers 15:37-40: “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: Throughout the generations to come you must make tassels for the hems of your clothing and attach them with a blue cord. When you see the tassels, you will remember and obey all the commands of the Lord instead of following your own desires and defiling yourselves, as you are prone to do. The tassels will help you remember that you must obey all my commands and be holy to your God.” (NLT). Here we see that the Israelites were commanded to have a “blue border” in their attire, and the blue hem would remind them of the Almighty up and beyond the blue sky, as it were, whenever they were tempted to sin; thus restraining them from lustful acts of flesh. So virtually, blue symbolized the Divine presence.
Now consider this Scripture- Isaiah 1:18: “‘Come now, let’s settle this,’ says the Lord.
‘Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.'” (NLT). Here the red color symbolizes the sins of men.
Time to reflect on an ethereal scene…on the one side, the Almighty is symbolized by blue; and on the other, sinful man is symbolized by the red color. The high priest, then, who who carries the best interest of both parties in his heart, stands in the middle, bringing about the reconciliation between the two. The high priest, the cleric of those days, is literally God’s representative before men and vice versa. When you mix blue (for God) and red (for man’s sin), lo and behold, what do you get? Purple! The the middle color, so to speak! Eureka! Or better yet, Hallelujah!
Now consider what color clothing Jesus had to wear en-route to the Cross…let the Scripture takeover: “And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him” (Mark 15:17 ESV).
Quite unwittingly, Jesus’ enemies were conveying a message as to Christ’s mediatory role in the Almighty’s redemptive plan by donning Him with purple cloth.
Of Covenant and Carry…
While the primary function of the Priest in Old Testament times entailed that he be a middleman between God and His covenanted people, men of the high priestly clan of Kohath (second son of Levi — SeeGenesis 46:11) had some functions to perform in the affairs of the Tabernacle. The indispensable one amongst them was that of carrying the Ark of the Covenant (SeeNumbers 7:9). It needs to be noted here that while objects of the Holy Tabernacle such as the brazen altarand the bronze laver could be transported by an oxcart, the most holy Ark of the Covenant (the title itself says it all), which symbolized the very covenantal relationship between God and the chosen nation of Israel (the Ark virtually stood in the middle, as it were, as a witness to that relationship), had to be carried on the shoulders of those of the priestly clan. Mind you, not any other Levitical clan, like the Gershonites or the Merarites, but only the Kohathite clan, to which belonged Aaron, the high priest could carry the Ark. Any volition of this Law would entail severe punishment, as King David tragically would “discover” later (See1 Chronicles 13/15:11-15)!
In our prevalent dispensation of Grace, the cross is the symbol of the covenant relationship between God and Christians. Period. “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”(Galatians 6:14 ESV; See alsoGalatians 5:11). In this context, would not tears of gratitude flow copiously from our eyes when we consider the fact that our unparalleled high priest (related to the Kohathite clan through His mother’s side — SeeLuke 1:5, 36) also carried the New Testament “Ark of the Covenant”, i.e. the Cross, on his shoulders? The Almighty, who can guide a King’s heart like a stream of water (SeeProv. 21:1) had doubtless historically moved a Roman rulers heart as well, to pass an edict on “the guilty” bearing their own cross, in order that the situation described in the Scripture (John 19:17) would come to pass. Our High Priest had to bear the covenant symbol of the Grace dispensation on His shoulders. The genesis of many of the startling New Testament events can be traced to acts which symbolized them in the Old Testament. However to grasp the beautiful meaning behind those acts and connect them to New Testament epoch-making events we need to make the Psalmist’s prayer our own “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.” (Psalm 119:18 Borean Study Bible)
Prayer: Father, we glorify Thee for illumining our mind from time to time as we meditate on the Scriptures. In Jesus’ Name. Amen
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries