An interesting ceremony occurs in Leviticus 8:4-11. Moses summons Aaron and his sons into the doorway of the tabernacle and consecrated them. This action consisted of four distinct things.
- A command (4-5)—“This is the thing which the Lord has commanded to do”
- A washing (6)—“Moses…washed them with water”
- Specific clothing (7-9)—tunic, sash, robe, ephod, breastpiece, turban, and the golden plate
- Anointing and sprinkling (10-11)—anointing the tabernacle with oil and sprinkled the oil on the altar and all its contents
For those of us in 21st Century America who are millennia removed from this ancient ceremony of the Jewish people, those actions are about as foreign as any that we might consider. But, they all worked together as part of a process of “consecration.” Yet, the idea is timeless, that of being regarded as holy because of having been devoted to the Lord.
The New Testament tells Christians that we are “priests” (1 Pet. 2:5,9; Rev. 1:6). Aaron and his family engaged in religious ritual and ceremony as well as representing people to God. While our function includes the latter, “proclaiming the excellencies of Him who has called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9), we have also been set apart to engage in religious actions for God (1 Pet. 2:5). Romans 12:1 tells us we offer up our bodies as living and holy sacrifices. Our lives are to be dedicated to Him, set apart for His use.
But the process of becoming a priest is just like the process mentioned there in Leviticus 8, if only in a spiritual sense. We are commanded to become priests (cf. 1 Pet. 1:22ff; 3:21). Our induction into this job requires a washing (Rev. 1:6; cf. Acts 22:16). We are given “special clothing” (1 Pet. 3:3; 5:5; cf. Gal. 3:27). The New Testament speaks of this in terms of “anointing” and “sprinkling” (1 Pet. 1:12). When we came into Christ, we entered a life of significance and importance. We were accepting a grand, sobering job. We have been made holy by the blood of Christ, special and dear to God. At the same time, we are set apart for God’s use. One is an undeserved blessing. The other is an unsurpassed responsibility. Let us be grateful for Jesus’ gift that made this priesthood available to us, then let us embrace the monumental task of representing Him to the world and showing the world about Him through our very lives!