On His Two Shoulders
Exodus 28:12 (ESV) – And you shall set the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of remembrance for the sons of Israel. And Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders for remembrance.
The Bible contains examples of events, ceremonies, and items that serve as symbols for greater truths. We see this throughout Scripture. The bronze serpent lifted up by Moses to heal those bitten by the snakes, brought as a judgment from God against Israel’s grumbling, signified Jesus being lifted up on the cross to pay the price for sinners. All who lift their eyes and look upon Him with faith are healed and restored. The Temple was the place where God’s presence dwelled on earth with man. But it pointed both to Jesus, God in the flesh with man, but also to the Day when God’s permanent dwelling place would be with man at the end of all things.
Our passage today shows us an example of biblical imagery that communicated truth and pointed to a future reality. We read God’s instructions to Moses in the law. Moses is on the mountain with God receiving instructions on many things for the people of Israel. We read about the role of Aaron and the priests in our passage today. Exodus 28:12 says, “And you shall set the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of remembrance for the sons of Israel. And Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders for remembrance.”
The imagery to focus on is the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod. The ephod was a sleeveless garment worn by the priests as they made intercession for the people before the LORD. Each shoulder would contain a stone. The text says the stones were for remembrance for the sons of Israel. Why was that needed? Because as the priest made the required sacrifices, he was doing so on behalf of the people. Aaron bore their names before the LORD on his shoulders so that they could receive forgiveness of sins.
It is a powerful image. The LORD directs that the garment contain the stones and that the priest remember the people as he sacrifices. But the imagery points beyond the role of the priests. This is ultimately a picture of Christ. How? Jesus is the great High Priest who goes to the cross as the sacrificial lamb. The sins of His people are on His shoulders as He hangs there in agony. The atonement that brings sinners peace with God and reconciliation comes through the death of the Savior. He bore their sins, and their names were there on His shoulders.
Honor Christ today for bearing your name on His shoulders. You were present that day in Jerusalem, as the Son of Man hung on the cross. You were on His shoulders, and because of that, your sins are no longer on yours.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why does God use this type of imagery and symbolism throughout Scripture?
- What significance are the stones on Aaron’s shoulders?
- How does this text help increase your devotion to Christ?
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