Christ our Priest-Friend

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

Exodus 28:6, 12 (NIV)
“Make the ephod of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen—the work of skilled hands…and fasten them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. Aaron is to bear the names on his shoulders as a memorial before the LORD.”

Exodus 28:6, 12 (NIV)
“Have the Ephod made from gold; blue, purple, and scarlet material; and fine twisted linen by a skilled craftsman. Give it two shoulder pieces at two of the corners so it can be fastened… Fasten the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the Ephod—they are memorial stones for the Israelites. Aaron will wear these names on his shoulders as a memorial before GOD.”
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“… and they shall make the ephod of gold and blue, purple, and scarlet fabric and fine twisted linen, skillfully woven and [beautifully] worked… You shall put the two stones on the [two] shoulder pieces of the ephod [of the high priest], as memorial stones for Israel; and Aaron shall bear their names on his two shoulders as a memorial before the LORD. “

In Exodus 28:6-14 God describes for Moses a particular garment that was going to be exclusively for the High Priest’s use. This garment was the ephod. Once again we find God calling for the skilled craftsmen to come forward and use their God-given talents to make something that would be used in worship of Him. This garment, the ephod, was a vestment that was worn over the clothing of the priest, fitting over his front and back; and girded around his waist.

It’s design was quite elaborate and beautiful. Scripture describes it in this way. “Have the Ephod made from gold; blue, purple, and scarlet material; and fine twisted linen by a skilled craftsman. Give it two shoulder pieces at two of the corners so it can be fastened. The decorated band on it is to be just like it and of one piece with it: made of gold; blue, purple, and scarlet material; and of fine twisted linen. Next take two onyx stones and engrave the names of the sons of Israel on them in the order of their birth, six names on one stone and the remaining six on the other. Engrave the names of the sons of Israel on the two stones the way a jeweler engraves a seal. Then mount the stones in settings of filigreed gold. Fasten the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the Ephod—they are memorial stones for the Israelites. Aaron will wear these names on his shoulders as a memorial before God. Make the settings of gold filigree. Make two chains of pure gold and braid them like cords, then attach the corded chains to the settings.” -Exodus 28:6-14 (MSG)

Notice the two onyx stones that had the names of the sons or tribes of Israel engraved on them. These were placed on the shoulder pieces of the ephod and were symbolic of the high priest representing all of Israel before God’s presence in the Tabernacle. He was basically bearing the burdens of the people before God and was their Advocate.

The Apostle John in his first epistle tells us that Jesus is now this representative or Advocate for us. 1 John 2:1-2 in the NIV says, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” Whereas the Message Version conveys Jesus as our Priest-Friend, “I write this, dear children, to guide you out of sin. But if anyone does sin, we have a Priest-Friend in the presence of the Father: Jesus Christ, righteous Jesus. When he served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good—not only ours, but the whole world’s.”

It amazes me how God goes the extra mile to be sure that we have audience and representation before Him. In the old Testament the high priest was the representative and in the New Testament and beyond we have Jesus as our representative. God cares so much that He was sure that we had opportunity to approach Him. How amazing is that?

My Prayer:
God, your love and caring overwhelms me. Mankind blew it when it came to obeying you, but you made a way for us to still have relationship with you. God, you are amazing! When I was down and out in sin; you made a way for me to be reconciled to you. Jesus Christ is my Representative and Advocate; standing before your throne and making intercession for me. Thank you for never giving up on me. Thank you for going the extra mile; your love was so great and you cared so much for me. God, you are good and your love blesses me.

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