Daily Lectionary: Numbers 16:41-17:13; Luke 20:1-18
On the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony, and behold, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds. (Numbers 17:8)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. As the people of Israel wandered in the wilderness, they rebelled against their leaders frequently. They rebelled against Moses, the Lord’s prophet. In our text from Numbers, they rebelled against Aaron and his sons, the Lord’s priests.
This story should serve as a warning: Do not rebel against those authorities God has appointed over you. Rebellion is not pleasing to the Lord. Seizing authority for oneself is a sin. Since all authority comes from God, whenever we disrespect or despise our parents, pastors, and other authorities, we are guilty of disrespecting and despising God Himself.
We believe that the Old Testament isn’t merely a set of rules or moral examples, but that it points to Christ. Where can we find Christ in this story?
Perhaps we should remember that the Levitical priesthood was only temporary. These priests were ordained by God, but they were sinful and mortal. They must be replaced by a sinless, immortal High Priest, one in the order of Melchizedek (Psalms 110:4).
How can we be sure that Jesus is the High Priest ordained by God? How can we be sure that His sacrifice appeased God’s wrath and that His blood purified the conscience of every believer? How can we be certain that He stands within God’s heavenly temple, interceding for us and offering to the Father the incense of our prayers?
The people of Israel knew that Aaron was their high priest when his staff, a piece of dead wood, blossomed and produced ripe almonds. We know that Jesus is our High Priest because His cross—a piece of dead wood which should produce only dead men—produced life.
Behold, our crucified Lord lives! Behold, everlasting life flows from the cross to you! Behold, Jesus, your High Priest! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Christ’s altar was the tree, Where on the world’s behalf He shed a blood, unlike the blood Of goat or calf, To seal God’s guarantee Of grace that cannot fail; With blood He entered for our good Behind the veil. (Christ Sits at God’s Right Hand, LSB 564:3)