It would not be a stretch to say that the last year and a half has been rife with conflict. We are all likely so familiar with these disputes (and tired of talking about them) that I don’t even need to list them. While many of us have found ourselves on opposing sides of the table with family and friends, I can’t imagine there’s anyone who enjoys feeling alienated from loved ones. How much better would our lives be if we just had a mediator to help gently resolve our disagreements?
The people of Israel often found themselves on the opposite side of the table with God. You see, sin creates conflict between people and God—a holy God has a rightful issue with the unholy. In order to mediate this conflict between Himself and His people, the Lord appointed a man named Aaron to be High Priest over Israel. Among his many duties was a unique one: to offer a sacrifice of animal blood to pay for the sins of the people. Without the proper atoning sacrifice, God’s people would be completely alienated from Him.
The problem with any human priest is that he would have to continually account for his own sins as well. Leviticus 16 lays out the kind of sacrifices Aaron would need to make to cleanse anyone and anything that was contaminated by disobedience to God’s law. This didn’t just happen once, it happened year after year because of the perpetual sin of Israel and its priests. It was a conflict that could not be eternally resolved by a tainted mediator.
Hebrews 9:11-12 tells us that Jesus came to be a better mediator. The conflict between God and His people is resolved forever because He gave His own perfect life as a sacrifice. Only a sinless High Priest could, “by his own blood” (9:12), secure eternal redemption for us.
Without the offering of Jesus, we would still find ourselves across the table from a holy God, year after year, trying to atone for our failures in the same manner as Aaron. Jesus did what no other High Priest could do and offered himself as a living sacrifice, once and for all, and now stands at God’s right hand continually “interceding for us” (Romans 8:34). Through the person and work of Jesus, we can now draw close to God, without any fear of alienation.