Friday, April 22, 2011

Leviticus: Chapter 21

The priests taught holiness and separation to the people; now, they are called to live those truths.  The weight upon the priests is heavy...what an appropriate chapter to contemplate on 'Good Friday.'  The priests were a picture of Christ--with the High Priest being the closest picture.   For all but the High Priest, close human ties were allowed to bring 'defilement' in caring for the dead.  But the High Priest was to honor his relationship with God above all earthly relationships.  With honor comes responsibility and the weight of serving God is also borne by the family members (higher expectations of the wife and children).

None of the restrictions imply superiority or deficiency--all is a continuation of the theme of purity and holiness.  Those with disfigurements were not 'less' acceptable to God nor were virgins 'more' acceptable to Him; in both cases, the focus is on reverence for our Holy God.  There is great responsibility even today for those who serve the King; it is not about the servants--it is all about HIM!  All of the Christian's life should be targeted at bringing glory to God. 

As we consider the tough commands to the priests, it bears remembering that the burden Christ bore on the cross far exceeds all prescribed in this chapter.  A particularly interesting note in Matthew Henry's commentary indicated that Christ actually 'broke' the prohibition related to death to show He was changing the state of death.  Christ's victory over death changed everything; praise God!

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