You shall bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the tent of meeting and wash them with water. Then you shall take the garments, and put on Aaron the coat and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastpiece, and gird him with the skillfully woven band of the ephod. And you shall set the turban on his head and put the holy crown on the turban. You shall take the anointing oil and pour it on his head and anoint him. Then you shall bring his sons and put coats on them, and you shall gird Aaron and his sons with sashes and bind caps on them. And the priesthood shall be theirs by a statute forever. Thus you shall ordain Aaron and his sons.
Then you shall bring the bull before the tent of meeting. Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the bull. Then you shall kill the bull before the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and shall take part of the blood of the bull and put it on the horns of the altar with your finger, and the rest of the blood you shall pour out at the base of the altar. Exodus 29:4-12 ESV
For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever. Hebrews 7:26-28 ESV
Charlie Brown was walking to Violet’s birthday party, all clean and dressed up. He met Pig-Pen, who was also going to the party. Pig-Pen was very dirty and messy. His shoes were untied, his hair was standing up all over, and his skin and clothes were so dirty that a cloud of dust followed him as he walked. Charlie Brown couldn’t believe Pig-Pen hadn’t washed himself and put on clean clothes. He didn’t think Violet would even let him come into her birthday party, but she did. Pig-Pen explained to Charlie Brown in the end, “The present was clean.”
When God called Aaron, Moses’ brother, and Aaron’s sons to be his priests, it was different. Aaron and his sons would have the job of offering sacrifices to God, and they had to be perfect sacrifices. But Aaron and his sons had to be clean and perfect as well. They were washed and dressed in special clothes to show that they were doing holy work. More importantly, Moses had to offer sacrifices for them. One of the sacrifices was a bull. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the bull, and then it was killed, and the blood was put on the altar. The bull was a picture of the sacrifice of the promised Savior, who would come to take away their sins. Without that sacrifice, no one could be a priest for God, because all people are sinners.
Jesus is the one high priest who didn’t need to offer God the sacrifice of any animal, because Jesus has no sin. He can come to God for us just the way he is–holy and righteous and perfect. But Jesus does more than talk to our Heavenly Father for us. Jesus was the high priest who offered the one perfect sacrifice for all time, and he also was the sacrifice itself. In Jesus, the perfect high priest offered the perfect sacrifice that gives us the forgiveness of our sins, now and always.
Dear Jesus, thank you for being our high priest and our sacrifice. Amen.
Schulz, Charles M. The Complete Peanuts 1961-1962 Seattle: Fantagraphic Books, 2006, p. 229.