A Contrast in Sacrifices
Today’s reading: Leviticus 10-12; Matthew 26:1-19
1 Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. 2 And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. 3 Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.’” And Aaron held his peace. Leviticus 10:1-3
12 In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.” Matthew 26:12-13
Here we have a dramatic contrast between people who sought to make offerings to God. In the Leviticus reading, we find two sons of Aaron offering unauthorized fire before the Lord. In Matthew, we find a woman pouring expensive ointment on Jesus. The former were punished with death; the latter was honored and is still honored for her faith and love.
What made the difference here? Why did God accept the actions of one and not the actions of the others? God is not capricious. He has made His will clear in His word. The sons of Aaron were careless and, maybe, arrogant in their presumption. They did what was not commanded in their priestly functions. God showed that worship and the offerings to Him were serious business. Above all, God was to be sanctified, set apart from the common and ordinary, and His worship would not be done casually or according to anyone’s personal preferences and whims.
Jesus was the Messiah, promised to Israel. One’s response to Him, whether in disbelief or in faith, was crucial. The woman, who anointed Jesus with ointment, showed faith which emanated from her love for Him.
What made the difference? The unnamed woman glorified Christ. Aaron’s sons did not. Will you glorify God today? Seek to lift Him up before the watching world.