What have you learned about God so far in your reading of Exodus this year? About yourself?
Read // Exodus 19 & Hebrews 12:18-24
The challenging question we end up with in Exodus 19 is how can this God who reveals Himself on the mountain in terrifying and awful fashion still desire to be in intimate relationship with sinful and grumbling people? How can a holy and just God dwell among a sinful people? The answer we see here and ultimately reflected in Hebrews is straightforward: a mediator.
Moses was the mediator on the mountain. He went up on behalf of the people to represent them before God. Then, Moses is the mediator sent by God down the mountain to warn the people and to keep them from going down the road toward death.
Jesus is our ultimate mediator: “Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” Abel’s blood at the beginning of Genesis cries out to God in condemnation of his murderous brother. Jesus’ blood, on the other hand, cries out “Grace! Forgiveness! Acceptance! Peace!”
When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain in the temple split. The curtain that separated the most holy place. The place where the fullness of God’s presence dwelt. The curtain that kept the people safe from the all-consuming power of God’s glory as seen on mount Sinai. It was torn. Why? Because all of the awful wrath and power and fury of God’s presence as seen on the mountain, all the lightening and thunder and earthquakes came down on Jesus on the cross. He received the punishment we deserved, so that we no longer needed God’s presence to be mediated by the cloud on the mountain or the curtain in the temple but could have the holiness of God dwelling within us: “21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor 5:21). Friends, this is the gospel. This is why we need all of God’s story to know Jesus more fully.
“Lord, I know that I am completely unworthy of your love and grace. I am fully deserving only of your punishment and rejection. So, Lord, I thank you for your mercy poured out for me in Jesus, who took my place of punishment. Keep His sacrifice ever before me that it would never become stale or forgotten.”
Check out Tim Keller’s awesome chapter on Exodus 19 in this ebook.