Leviticus 21:17-18 & 22-23a
“Speak to Aaron, saying, None of your offspring throughout your generations who has a blemish may approach to offer the bread of his God. For no one who has a blemish shall draw near, a man blind or lame, or one who has a mutilated face or a limb too long. … He may eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy and the holy things, but he shall not go through the veil or approach the altar.”
The most stalwart High Priest in human history, the One who not only passed through the holy veil from God’s side but also from man’s, the One who unthreaded the tapestry of separation for all eternity, the most unblemished Mediator ever to offer the bread of God to hungry souls, the Minister of divine grace Who’s likeness Aaron’s most stately sons barely imitate, is—get this—effectively also the most lame, the most mutilated, the most bodily-disproportioned priest as well. Those feet that tread on the stars buckle under the weight of Golgotha’s cross. That back that paralyzed Moses with awe at Sanai collapses under the load of man’s iniquities. This effervescent mystery of divine incarnation keeps shining through all the shadowy symbolism of biblical atonement. To put in lyric form:
There’s glory in Your transfiguration; it shines away my reasons to boast!
But Your disfiguration is the place I see His glory the most!
Remember the paradox of divine revelation, friend, that God has been revealing Himself while concealing Himself, insuring that only those with eyes to see and ears to hear, only those whose senses have been calibrated to the Spirit’s work, are able to go deeper into the manifold mysteries. That’s why God’s formal precedent for high priests here in Leviticus 21 creates a stumbling block for all would-be disciples. Scribes and Pharisees won’t merely reject Jesus for the offensiveness of His message, but for the offensiveness of His visage. Reflect on that.
Isaiah 53:2 prophesied long before, “He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him,” which doesn’t quite fit the priestly profile of Leviticus 21 unless we gaze upon it through the eyes of faith.