Jeff likes to watch a show on the Discovery channel called "Dirty Jobs." The host Mike Rowe works jobs that are unusual. Most of them are jobs that the average person doesn't work because it is very unique as well as very dirty.
We began the book of Leviticus this past week. The book of Leviticus was written as an instruction book for the priests. I thought of something this time that I hadn't before, the priests had a unique job that the average person could not do and it was kind of a dirty job. We look at offering sacrifices as almost being romantic because it is the cleansing of one's sin. But as I started reading about all that the actual duties of the priests, it made me realize that getting clean requires getting dirty.
The key verse in Leviticus is 19:2 which says, "Be holy because I, the Lord your God am holy." The priests were responsible for the peoples holiness. The priests were the only ones consecrated to enter the most holy place and perform the different sacrificial offerings. (Leviticus 8:12 & 13) The Grain offering wasn't too bad. They were to season the Grain offerings with salt, which is a symbol of covenant. When I read about what they had to do for the Fellowship, Sin and Guilt offerings, it was messy. The animals brought had to be butchered in such a way and the blood was to be drained and sprinkled to make atonement.
I remember being in Israel and seeing a model of the area where the people were to bring their sacrifices to the temple. We don't really have a concept of what that would have been like because it is not done today. When our tour guide explained it, the blood drained from the animals would have completely filled the area and the smell of the dead animals surely would not have been pleasant. Once the animals were properly handled they were placed on the alter and the smell of the burning offering over powered everything. Leviticus 1:9 says, "You are to wash the internal organs and the legs with water, and the priest is to burn all of it on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD." God did invent the barbeque.
The priests also had the job of determining skin diseases and infections. They were to examine a sore or sores on one's skin and tell the person whether or not they were considered clean or unclean. I can't imagine telling someone they were unclean. Then the person would have to cry out, "Unclean! Unclean!" (Leviticus 13:45)
As I thought about the responsibility that was placed on the priests, it made me think of pastors today. Pastors don't have the job of butchering for sacrificial offerings as the priests did because Jesus already took care of that. What it did bring to mind the job pastors have is to help people separate the unclean from the clean in their lives.
A pastor has to be willing to roll up his sleeves and get dirty when helping people clean out their lives. It's like those shows where people live in homes piled with "stuff" that they can't get rid of it because it has become apart of them. A psychologist or therapist has to help them separate the unclean from the clean. In almost every situation, the person struggling with the issue can't let go of the "stuff" because they have lived with it so long it is now apart of who they are.
I am so grateful for what Jesus did for us by taking on my sin so that I could be considered clean. Once we have received our salvation, we are so clean that now the Holy Spirit takes residence in us. 1 Corinthians 3:16 says, "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?" Remember the priests were the only ones allowed in the temple because they had been consecrated before God and could survive the presence of the Lord. If they were not consecrated they would die immediately. So the average person could never be in the presence of God. But because of Jesus, we now have that same presence living in us. Jesus took on the dirty job of carrying our sin and becoming the sacrifice so we could not become consecrated before the Lord. Think about that, the very presence that could kill a man if he was not considered holy, now dwells in us and allows us to live eternally because of Jesus' sacrifice. I'd say Jesus had the dirtiest job of all, but I am thankful that he was willing to do it.