The MRI machine drums an awkward melody like it’s chasing a rhythm and can’t quite catch up. The cold hard metal in front of me steams up as I breath, disguising my reflection just for a second before dissipating again. In tough times like these, I’m reminded we can confidently trust in the anointing of Christ.
The mass they found in my previous test is probably nothing. But it might be something. For this reason, I find myself in an MRI machine preparing for a breast biopsy.
Being squeamish of needles, and, well, anyone in a white coat, I practice my favorite trick to overcome anxiety (When Anxiety Knocks and God Answers). In my head, I say Jesus’ name over and over again. It seems way too easy, but I promise, it works.
This time I was singing to myself the simple chorus of a worship song from college:
Jesus, Jesus, You are the Holy and Anointed One. Jesus.
Repeating those lines over and over in my head, I remembered why Jesus is designated “The Anointed One”.
In Old Testament times, priests were anointed in the same way as kings. In preparation for the Day of Atonement, oil was poured on the High Priest to symbolize the Holy Spirit’s anointing. His job was to make sacrifices to God on behalf of ALL the people of Israel for that year’s sin.
Before stepping into the Holy of Holies, where God’s presence would dwell, precise preparations had to be made. The High Priest sacrificed a ram, goat and bull and he wore specific garments after a time of physical and spiritual purification. Over 400 priests were involved and all of Israel was commanded to fast.
Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies, the most inner part of the temple, on one day a year. If he entered on a day other than The Day of Atonement, he would be killed.
Leviticus 16:11-14 describes the burning of incense in the Holy of Holies for two specific purposes. The act of offering incense was representative of the High Priest offering the prayer that God would accept their sacrifices and forgive their uncleanliness.
The incense also created a kind of smoke screen to prevent the High Priest from catching a glimpse of the Holy Presence of God. Doing so would result in certain death because no man could look upon God’s perfect holiness and live.
Can you imagine how stressful this must have been to the High Priest? Picture yourself waking up on the morning of the Day of Atonement and remembering the exacting role before you and the cost of screwing it up. It gives me a knot in my stomach just thinking about it.
Understanding the requirements of the Day of Atonement helps us to grasp the great cost of our sin and the tremendous freedom available to us in Christ’s sacrifice.
Christ’s death provided us with once-for-all atonement for sin as THE Anointed One – our Great High Priest.
When Christ died on the cross, He uttered the words “It is finished”, which echoed through the barren hillside (John 19:30).
At the same instant in Jerusalem, the temple curtains seemed to jerk as if hit by lightning. In the blink of an eye, they were torn from top to bottom by the hands of God Himself. In the moonlight, a cloud of dust was released from the heavy curtains in the same way that Christ’s sacrifice frees us from the burden of the Law.
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