Focal Passage: Leviticus 9:15-24; 10:1-3
I fancy myself an amateur baker. I make biscuits from scratch, I decorate cakes, I make cookies, and I love it. My favorite item to bake is pie. I can’t fully explain why, but there is something very satisfying about pulling the finished product out of the oven and observing its beauty, particularly if it’s a meringue pie, and I’ve gotten it right.
To make meringue, you whisk egg whites together and then gradually add sugar until it reaches the right thickness. Anyone who bakes knows that when you separate the eggs beforehand, even the tiniest hint of yolk left behind will spoil the meringue. Only pure whites properly set apart will produce a pie beautiful enough to please the baker.
In Leviticus 9 and 10, Aaron and his sons endure the grueling task of self-purification, atoning for their own sins through bloody sacrifice that they might then make atonement for the sins of the people.
Their purification is complete and their sacrifice accepted as the Lord in glorious and terrifying fashion consumes the offering with fire. However, the weaknesses and the temporal nature of the sacrificial system are on full display in the next three verses. Nadab and Abihu are struck dead for offering strange fire unto the Lord.
Jesus inaugurates a better way and succeeds where the old system was insufficient.
While the Law could not completely purify from sin in that it was weakened by the flesh, God did so by sending Christ to die on the cross (Romans 8:3). Christ is the pure and undefiled priest who offers Himself as the sacrifice once and for all. As such, he holds a permanent priesthood, interceding for and saving forever those who believe on Him in faith (Hebrews 7:23-28).
Therefore, those of us who believe join a kingdom of priests, “a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession” (1 Peter 2:9). We have been purified and properly set apart to live holy lives, abstaining from fleshly desires and behaving as model citizens of His eternal Kingdom, that others might see Christ’s beauty and so glorify Him.