It’s always fascinating to find Jesus and the gospel stories in the Old Testament. Today, we get a huge reference to Him as we learn about the dedication of the temple.
Throughout His ministry, Jesus was always comparing Himself to the temple. For the Jews, the Temple was where God dwelt. Sure, He was omnipresent, but the place where they could go and be in His presence, in fact were commanded to annually, was at the Temple. Here was the Ark of the Covenant, and on it the Bema Seat, the place where God lived.
Jesus replaced the Temple for us as the place where God dwelt. And as we see again and again, the closer you got to Jesus, the wider the welcome. This was the exact opposite of the Old Testament laws, where the closer you got to the Ark the fewer people were allowed, and was a large part of what kept giving the religious leaders of the day fits. And even back here in Exodus, we find this reality that Jesus replaced the temple. In the listing of things used to dedicate the temple, did you see three old familiar friends? The temple items were all cast in gold (30:3), the formula for the fragrance from the Altar of Incense was almost half frankincense (30:34), and the anointing oil for the priests was mostly myrrh (30:23). These formulas were to be “holy” which means used only for this single purpose. Anyone who made this particular recipe for either was to be killed!
When the Magi from the East came to Jesus, it is not coincidence that these are the exact items they presented to the baby. They were, in effect if unknowingly, dedicating a new Temple, a new dwelling place for Yahweh, and a new means of relationship between us and our God.
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