“And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.” Exodus 28:2
They were truly beautiful. Garments of the richest fabrics draped in layers over the erect figure serving God at the altar. Each piece was embroidered with the most intricate needlework, the blue and purple, scarlet and white, skillfully woven with wires of gold into gorgeous design. At the bottom, tinkling bells and dangling pomegranates swayed with his every step. Engraved onyx stones, set in golden ouches and chains, graced the shoulders, reaching down to the breastplate covered in 12 precious gems. Rings and wreaths and bells and lace! Aaron, bedecked in his chief priestly robes was a total exhibition of all things glorious and beautiful. Each offerer, as they led their sacrifice or carried their basket of goods would look in awe. “There’s Aaron!” They’d whisper. “See all the gold? Look, there’s the beryl that stands for our family!” Their intercessor, wearing his God-ordained finery could not be mistaken. He was a magnificent sight.
Day after day, Aaron labored in his garments for glory and for beauty. Sacrifice after sacrifice were slain. Ritual after feast after holy day were complied with and carried out. Intercession was made for the people.
Until the fullness of time came. Until God took away the first to establish the second. Until Christ, in those last moments of communion with His Father in heaven declared, “Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body has thou prepared me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou has had no pleasure. Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God.”
He came, but there was no beauty that we should desire Him. There was no stately form, no splendor, no glory adorning the Messiah. And so we despised Him. We hid our faces from Him. We found no pleasure in contemplating His holy face.
And so, with wicked hands we crucified and slew Jesus of Nazareth.
We stole His simple garment, ripped it up into so many pieces. We cast lots for his outer coat.
There were no garments for glory or beauty that day.
There were no gems upon his chest. Just a wooden cross upon his back.
There were no tinkling bells. There were only the murmurings of scoffers and railers. “Save thyself!”
There was no rich scarlet thread. There were instead streams and rivers of scarlet blood flowing from every gaping wound. From His head, His hands, His feet, His side.
His bonnet declaring Holiness to the Lord was a crown of thorns, silently repeating those very words. Holiness to the Lord! The Holy One, exacting the righteous penalty for impious humanity on the soul of the Holy One, so that they too could be holy ones!
No beauty for the King that day, No glory for the Lord arrayed. His garments gone, in darkness deep None at His side to bow or weep. Our sins to pay and death to slay. The Intercessor slips away.
“He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Solely and forevermore.
Blessed be God our God.